The headless chicken monster strikes again. Another disclaimer. This poem’s also a little graphic. You’ve been warned.
I don’t eat chicken anymore. But not because I stood at Mama’s right elbow,
saw her strip the skins from onion, tomatoes, green peppers. A willing witness,
I watched her render their varied flesh into equal shapes. I gloried in the mixture
of salt, black pepper, paprika that joined them in pot and pan on the white stove.
But the large wood-handled knife, the same stainless steel as the sink, taught me
caution. Magician with the blade, she showed me the sleight-of-hand dismemberment
requires. But I balked at the pale pebbled-skin, the blush-pink flesh under a gauzy
caul of membrane. The first slice at the joint, the meat of it peeled from bone
like carnal butter. A cap of bone showed bright white under the kitchen lights. I
fumbled through the second slice, nicked the whitened knuckle to the brown-red
marrow underneath. I could not get used to handling the firm, sometimes pulpy,
flab of headless chicken. Its cavity stuffed with bloody-wrapped scraps. She stood
silent and blank as I floundered. She moved away then: back to the stovetop, back
to its cookware. Away from the carnage at the sink’s bottom, away from me.
You should buy all of your meat precut when you’re grown.
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