In the Nature of Chickens, There is Little Room for Gentleness by Emma Fenton

Two chickens, blue building, overgrown chickenyard, rustic look
Chickens by Midnight Believer ( CC license.

On Thursday, there are three chickens
in the backyard pecking at each other, plucked
feathers scattered on the ground
like a gruesome crime scene.
You could make a fourth chicken
out of this
, I think and rescue
the yellow one with a bleeding wing. She
scrambles in my arms, talons
clawing at exposed flesh. I drop her.
She returns to pecking, happier in the violence
which is more comfortable to her than in my
arms: safe but unknown. I do not know
how to save them if they do not want to be saved,
only how to distract with corn-scratch and grapes,
give them something to tear apart other than themselves.
Be kind, please, I tell them, but of course chickens
do not understand reason. They know only bird-things:
how to find a good worm,
how to lay an egg,
how to draw blood.

Emma Fenton
Emma Fenton is an author and emerging poet based in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Her poetry has previously been published in The American Journal of Poetry. Emma holds a BA in Literary Studies and Creative Writing from Roanoke College.

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