Egg of Blackness, #85

-for Ted Hughes

Here lies chicken,
its beak in knots,
clucker all clucked
out, arms tired
of flapping, weak
hoverless wings
and lipless pout.

Chicken, who’s fate
is a cutlet
on a plate, wing,
breast, thigh-high hopes
of Buffalo,
the shores of Lake
Erie. Ruined,

spiced, roasted
slow on a steel
grill by boastful
chefs whose sauces
no one knows, whose
secrets unfold.
Tiny chicken

with tiny legs,
loath to struggle,
sad, meek, giver
of breakfast’s eggs,
for which millions
wait in rows of
cars cross the state.

Here, in an egg
of blackness, our
always ovum
beginning round,
held up to warmth
of mother hen,
worrywart stayed

up till rooster
comes home from date,
attempting to
seduce some young
chick, cheap hussy,
not good enough
for my boy, cock
of my body.

Egg of rudeness,
who’s shortcomings
we foster and
coddle, poutful
scene in the mall,
brood over toy
or treat, facade

of holding breath,
paltry tears that
take us back to
quiet roundness,
day our eggs first
appeared, mirror
of squat bodies.

God, I’m calling.
God in eggs. God,
I’m begging for
salvation, sweet
skin of chicken
in hot sauce,
Texas mesquite,
sweet Bar-B-Que.

I can not eat
enough to calm
the cluck of dead
assignments, good
intentions, each
unfit choice, each
sputtering dead
invention. Set

the grill, choose a
hot charcoal, draw
attention to
our fire, drown
what was a good
wing, perfect leg
in sauce till it
tastes burnt and brown.

What terrors to
chicken we’ve taught.
What horrible
children we’ve wrought.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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