Stop shaking, you're awake now.
That's right, reach up and stroke
your own smooth neck. No feathers.
How tangled you get...
your neck, the chicken's,
Grandpa's sudden twist,
your head hangs askew,
you circle before you finally
know you're dead. Like this waking.
Twine binds the chicken's feet.
Blood drips in a pail.
You bite through the salt-roasted
skin. You have always eaten of
yourself. Chickens scratching
in the yard. The hound yawns.
Grandpa sings a line
from Figaro, scatters corn.
You wake and wake drenched.
The sound of vertebrae breaking.
Your tongue clucking
until you remember human speech.
© 1995 by Donna J. Waidtlow
Donna J. Waidtlow is currently a MFA candidate at Goddard College. Her poetry has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellowing Ark, Chaminade Literary Review, TAPJoE, Cascade Cuneiform, and Xanadu (Tor Books, 1993).