Chicken Dance


Doors with locks, doors with nails,

punching clocks, punching sacks,

tagging names, tagging sides,

blades that grind, blades that trim,


weighing flour, weighing time,

wringing rags, wringing necks,


breaking birds, breaking skin,

hands with scars, hands with cuts,


scouring blood, scouring grease,

sweat from flame, sweat from ice,


trays that spill, trays that spoil,

cooling oil, cooling smiles,


heat with weight, heat with steam,

wash that stinks, wash that cleans,


wash that cleans, wash that stinks,

heat with steam, heat with weight.


cooling smiles, cooling oil,

trays that spoil, trays that spill,


sweat from ice, sweat from flame,

scouring grease, scouring blood,


hands with cuts, hands with scars,

breaking skin, breaking birds,


wringing necks, wringing rags,

weighing time, weighing flour,


blades that trim, blades that grind,

tagging names, tagging sides,


punching sacks, punching clocks,

doors with nails, doors with locks.

Photo By: Roey Ahram


About Author

Jon Tribble is the managing editor of Crab Orchard Review and the series editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry published by Southern Illinois University Press. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, Crazyhorse, Quarterly West, and The Jazz Poetry Anthology. His work was selected as the 2001 winner of the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah Lawrence College. He teaches creative writing and literature, and directs undergraduate and graduate students in internships and independent study in editing and literary publishing for the Department of English at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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