Butchering Chickens — Ten Years/after my Father’s Death on a Farm

by | Jun 9, 2015 | Poetry

I look away when the knife goes to neck and
I do not cut but saw, the blade sharp and quick
and each time it slices through I say “whoops” –
as if I did not expect this sudden release and the bird
pumps blood into the ground, its wings beating
frantically and I remember a story my dad told me,
how the Romans raced their slaves and cut off
their heads while running to bet on the distances
and my dad crushed beneath a tractor his head
caved in and the beating of his limbs I did not see
so we pretend it was quick but I know how chickens die –
he told me a hundred stories of death at war or under cars
or in machines in factories and on farms the bodies
of men and their blood. I searched for his blood
on the road where he died but found none.


Photo by Martin Cathrae

About The Author

Angela Williamson Emmert

Angela Williamson Emmert lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband and sons.