Poultry Shears | Judith Skillman | The Piltdown Review

Poultry Shears

Poultry Shears

Metal handles, large, the scissor

for a thigh or a wing, when feathers flew up,

sank like wishes, settled on the dirty floors.

Her fingers looped, her mouth set,

she lays into the bird. A pale thing, that,

hardly bloody but for the bone’s center,

where, once separated from the body,

a little fluid leaked on newsprint.

Nothing wasted—the gizzard boiled,

liver sizzling in a fry pan—even the neck—

her teeth chew strands of meat.

The best there is, she says, grinning

through a meat-toothed smile like a child,

Nothing automatic about the parts,

or the anatomy of memory. Seasonings thrown

with fingertips, no spoons to measure with.

The extraneous gone, only the killing of it

left to be explained. I remember they’d run

around after their heads were cut off.

Leaning in, butcher’s apron fastened

around a large waist. Not a doter, nor a worrier.

Her father killed the bird, her mother taught

fingers. The piano didn’t take. Hugs

the wooden block that holds (an actor

should come on scene only when crises loom)

the chicken’s fate, its marriage to water,

onion, carrots, knaidlach, schmaltz.  

shortlink: dogb.us/shears

          

               

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