• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 11
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I always wondered how chicken manage to stay steady
on toothpick legs       pirouetting about in the dirt
my sister has given them names    she’s most fond of Zee
who’s a bit slower than the rest running head over claw
to the compost heap for treats when my sister empties the bowl
Zee’s fluffy gaiters would do an eagle proud    in her mother of pearl
speckled black satin frock like a Chanel suit she sometimes sits
for hours on the roost looking up into the sky    crisscrossed by swallows
My sister wasn’t allowed to keep the chick that grew into a rooster
with his rainbow of a tail stretching out of a midnight blue body
crowned by the satsuma coloured comb       because of the neighbours
who’d already complained about the mess of the lime tree
sheltering the chicken coop and its earlier memories     One day
Zee was eyeing up a wood pigeon sitting on its lowest branch
For days after Zee was heard to utter sounds utterly unchickenlike
on the 8th day the wood pigeon moved onto the roost next to Zee
where they sat through days of rain practising wood pigeon sounds
until one fine morning when rain exhaled away with a breath of fog
they were gone     leaving nothing but a faint echo of some cooing