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.
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