He lowered his head and darted through
the grass, flushing a hen from off her nest,
then zeroing in on the day-old chicks
instead of the mother whose decoy trick
had failed to lure him away. In the time
it took for me to notice this, he’d broken
the necks of two of the chicks and torn
the skin from off their backs and heads.
The taste of their blood had deafened him
to my commands, so I went to him
like an angry god and chased him away
with my staff and rod, inflicting a wound also
in his side for him to go on licking, to wash
their blood from off his tongue with his own blood,
and then I kneeled in the grass to regard his kill
while the mother keened inside the woods
not far away. Oh, what a mess they were
with their heads snapped back and wings
unhinged. I picked up the bodies
like bloody socks and prayed to the god
in charge of this field for my own weakness
to feel this much for slaughtered chicks.
For an understanding of his need to kill
the most vulnerable thing, whether hungry or not.
Chard deNiord, “In the Grass” from Interstate. Copyright © 2015 by Chard deNiord. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
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