Thursday Poem


When they come to pluck me, I appear
neither girl nor boy, clam nor cock.

I have neither hooves nor snout.
But I do have claws; I can grunt and growl

and show my teeth. I do not need wings
to create a windstorm, I do not need talons

to break skin; I can snarl and scrape.
I can unhinge my jaw, to fit a head twice

the size of mine inside. I can be razor-backed
and spike-edged when he tries to skin me,

unscale my silvery back, debone my brazen
hen-hide. I will be foul-mouthed and crooked-necked.

I will be the chicken-head they know me to be,
if it will save my life. When he comes for me,

I will remember the coop, how they gathered the fowl
girl up by the feet with warm hands and cooing.

How her brown hung low when they entered her
into the guillotine and severed her head. How they

plucked her body until she was bare. I will remember
the blood and what happens when they want you as food.

by Khalisa Rae
from Pank Magazine, Issue 16