Winter’s an off time for hatching, the birds gone south for warmer pastures, warmer skies. The pigeons and crows left to rejoice and bicker over the half-frozen scrap spill outside the garbage bins. The hens were indifferent, warm and cramped in their hatcheries set back off the highways that hacked through farmland and prairie and suburb, their eggs rolling down the aluminum ramps, end over end. Gone were the songbirds, the Canada geese, the vast twisting clouds of starlings. Where the water lapped unfrozen, ducks gathered, beaked the cold silt from the riverbed and stood on the ice to beat their wings, the water flung into the thick snow, the frigid water.