blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




Three hours she avoids the cock
and hen, flushed from the same rise, tucked
close as sleeping lovers, a delicacy

too touching to waste. Still the driveway
stays empty. Shushing the whimper
of the dog's linoleum-clicking dreams,

she lifts each bird by the neck and turns
to his penciled instructions. He'll have
some explaining to do. But no use

crying as blood jewels their beaks.
The quills she tugs sputter
like candles. Down drifts,

and the dog rouses its nose
to the smoky air. How brightly
wings snap at the shoulder, span

and retract. Flesh and breastbone
yield to knife-slice a handful
of curled intestines, plump

stomach, thumbpads of liver.
Flushed under tap the parsed guts
quiver; run clear. She plumbs

the cavity again, feels
how firmly the small heart
roots before it gives

over to its leaded end. She crouches;
offers it on the flat of her hand, the dog's
warm tongue sponging her open palm. That

moment she notes the presence of another—
smooth, indecipherable as a creek stone
—then it's gone. 

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