Cheryl’s constant attack on the others
made wringing her neck easy.
That left sweet Sheila, Gita,
funny little Francis, and Mabel.
Yadi did not have the heart for more slaughter.
Gita’s eyes held reproach,
Francis ran circles round his feet, and
Sheila shuddered on the passenger seat.
Screeching, Mabel charged Yadi.
She was the next to go.
Grabbing Mabel’s neck,
Yadi stepped from the bus
and wrung it.
Two down, three to go.
Five years earlier Randy, Jim and Pryor
converted Phil’s old VW bus
into a coop for chickens-
one named for each roomate's mother.
Since that day, Randy and Yadi
turned cooking eggs into art.
Every day the men devoured eggs.
Strata, soufflés, quiche, and frittatas
scrambled, over easy, and baked.
When the city condemned their house,
they chose to make a meal of their momma hens.
Randy, Jim, and Phil held the three remaining girls.
Yadi and Pryor sang a whacked out version
of the Ozark Mountain Daredevil’s Chicken Train
while three necks twisted then
The men settled in to plucking the birds
and telling tales
about these five feathered friends.
Too much wine with dinner
led to turn-taking
with sledge hammers
to bash the bus in.
a fine imitation of Francis,
flapping his arms
and dancing circles
through their yard.
Yadi chanted and started a fire in the pit.
The five of them sat
facing flame, feeding it,
filling it with wood and stories,
watching one another
drum the earth
colored the edges
of the sky.
Ten days later,
right before dusk,
the fire department
burned their house
to the ground.
From across the street,
the men watched it disappear.
“If I was God,
I would be fire.
Fire keeps people humble.
Fire leaves only ash.
Fire annihilates with no remorse.”
Then his voice broke.
Yadi grabbed his head in both hands and said,
“I cannot tell my mother I ate Gita for dinner.”
This is a (mostly) true story. When the Big Tent asked us to revise a piece, I went straight to Urban Chickens. It didn't require a huge revision. I played with line breaks, changed the phrasing a bit, and did some general polishing.
Head over to Big Tent Poetry and take a gander at some more poems that were revisited this week by their constructors.