Twyla Hansen

Prairie-Chicken

From Prairie Suite: A Celebration. Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center. 2006.

You can keep your theories: we have stalked it
nearly to extinction. Yet out here in spring
on rolling hills of virgin prairie, it makes its legendary
ground-nest. This is wildness, silence, the crown-fire
center for its courtship battleground called a lek:
the male, in feather-fan and moan and air sac inflation.
Oh, to possess such trembling strength, such purpose,
passed down through the millennia. Glimpse this royalty,
its sacred ceremony, the blended, barred spirit feather
of this otherwise quiet yet diminishing bird.