Oyster Boy Review 16  
  Winter 2002
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» Levee 67


Walt's Chicken Store

Charles Fort

They said he was born with claws
instead of hands that held the egg
until the correct indoor temperature
separated the veins and ripe yolk
from its webbed sac and grew
three times its liquid birth weight
with a wool blanket over a tub
until a crack in its swollen shell
hatched the tumbling holy bird.
He walked single file into the aisle
behind his father who understood
how Walt cut through chicken wire
into the backyard where the rooster
ruled the pink flamingo's nest
as he pulled out the alley cat
asleep inside a barrel of feathers.

These were birds for all seasons
one for a family of Christmas poor
two hens for the minister's wife
whose stained apron caught fire
and a blue ribbon champion
with its clean bill and gold bands
reserved for the three time mayor
photographed at bird's eye level
who adopted the roaster for a year
to nearly talk and double in size
and provide a quill and pen.
He held the bird in his hand
opened his father's straight razor
and slit its pulsing throat
as it bled into the shadows.
Mixing the proper ingredients
into a golden bowl of birdshit and sin,
Walt raised the breast and wing
and trapped wire to a crippled leg
before he fed what he meant to kill.