to Pat Ryan
I have to kill the rooster tomorrow. He’s being an asshole,
having seriously wounded one of our two hens with his insistent banging.
You walk into the barn to feed the horses and pick up an egg
or two for breakfast and he jumps her proclaiming she’s mine she’s mine.
Her wing is torn and the primary feathers won’t grow back.
Chickens have largely been denatured, you know. He has no part
in those delicious fresh eggs. He crows on in a vacuum. He is
utterly pointless. He’s as dumb as a tapeworm and no one cares
if he lives or dies. There. I can kill him
with an easy mind. But I’m still not up to it. Maybe I can hire
a weasel or a barn rat to do the job, or throw him to Justine,
the dog, who would be glad to rend him except the neigbors
have chickens too, she’d get the habit and we would have a beloved shot
dog to bury. So he deserves to die, having no purpose. We’ll
have stewed barnyard chicken, closer to eating a gamebird than
that tasteless supermarket chicken born and bred in a caged
darkness. Everything we eat is dead except and occasional oyster
or clam. Should I hire the neighbor boy to kill him? Will the
hens stop laying out of grief. Isn’t his long wavering crow
magnificent? Isn’t the worthless rooster the poet’s bird brother?
No. He’s just a rooster and the world has no place for him.
Should I wait for a full wintry moon, take him to the top of the
hill after dropping three hits of mescaline and strangle him?
Should I set him free for a fox meal? They’re coming back now
after the mange nearly wiped them out. He’s like a leaking roof
with drops falling on my chest. He’s the Chinese torture in the barn.
He’s lust mad. His crow penetrates walls. His head bobs in lunar
jerks. The hens shudder but are bored with the pain of eggs.
What can I do with him? Nothing isn’t enough. In the morning
we will sit down together and talk it out. I will tell him he
doesn’t matter and he will wag his head, strut, perhaps crow.