Dressing & Undressing

The water boils as the fowl is hanged.
She is upside down, a fragile container,
Prepared to unleash the contents. Just breathe.
Many times my blade has met the neck of a bird.

Emotions pulse like blood as I grip. I must. She’s violent.
The flock cannot keep her, and the time has come. I cut.
The blood boils down her beak as her eyes turn glass.
She’s gone. The seething water receives her.

We feed them, they feed us, but those were not my words.
Not my birds.
Father dressed me when I was young. I have undressed from him.
Letting go of him has given me, me, and with that the responsibility of being.

With gentle sawing motions, I deface her. The body taken apart, wing-clipped.
I clear and clean the neck, there is so little blood. She scalds once more,
And the feathers come free. To dress her, I must undress her.
Her skin is yellow white as I remove the smooth feet.

The blade slips through the soft folds, the cavity unveiled,
Around the cloaca the blade glides, and down, the tines drop free.
One swoop, and she’s emptied of innards. But my hands withdraws, yellow.
The warm fat dyes my flesh. I am dressed, undressed, in her gathered pillow.

And days pass. I meet a man, who’s skin is yellow white. His head is bare
Under the hoarfrost of time. A naked scalp.  Though I be in a hurry,
His words hang there; fat, sticky, bloodless. He speaks of teams,
What he’s seen, where he’s been, insistent to be understood.

If I were to reach into his mind, would I withdraw yellow dyed?
Though all I hear is flapping, I see in him my father. Old and pale now.
His eyes are wrinkled, two flaccid cloacae, perched behind his beak nose.

And I know, dressed or undressed, we’re all birds, by and by.

Published by AC Moore

My goal is to one day change the world in the same way Shakespeare did: by infusing the thoughts of the human race with such language and turn-of-phrase that they say them daily, and never even know it was I who wrote it.

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