[This poem was written while we were on vacation. I use the passive tense in the previous sentence because I’m not sure I wrote it myself. We had just eaten a lunch of chicken burgers, and I lay down for my midday nap. These stanzas disrupted my sleep, one by one, until the poem was finished. I felt as though they were being dictated, perhaps by the spirits of the chickens.]


Chickens born and chickens die.
Clip their wings so they can’t fly.
Some we bake and some we fry.
No reward up in the sky.

No one cares how chickens feel
as we eat our chicken meal.
Don’t believe their lives are real.

Farmers hear their fear and pain
as their blood flows down the drain.
Seen before and see again.

They can’t use my gratitude.
They don’t crave my praise.
All they want’s a bit more food
a nice big yard to roam and brood
and a few more days.

Leslie Gerber 9/20/04

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