How she knows she is not useless yet:
Old cornstalks must be shattered right
Where they stood green, to feed worms
She knows are waiting in darkness.
Her hens wait too, for water, for feed,
Especially for deadnettles, nipplewort,
Kale and comfrey. Some hummingbirds
Now arriving check the lilac for their
Own nectar bottle that hung there
While last spring, summer and fall
Slipped past. There are wasp queens
She finds sleeping in her woodpile;
Her heart skips a beat as she sees
Each one, for she fears them, yet
Interests herself in their rest and
Safety, for the good they do her garden.
Now she mucks out her barn, for
Of her things she values rich mulch, almost
To distraction, most. But slowly;
Under beams and eaves hang cobwebs,
Sacs of eggs suspended in each, waiting
End of winter, not to be disturbed.
Lest she forget to serve all equitably,
Every bucket of soiled barn water
She carries to her trees to tip out:
Something to stave off drought.
Yes, she's earned the right, she thinks,
Even in this so solitary place,
To call herself an asset to her friends.