Poem by Sean Eaton

December 15, 2023

Chicken

So what were you doing when the Twin Towers
collapsed? I was sitting outside the principal’s

office, eight years old and waiting for a talking-
to. Was sent back to class by a pensive

expression. What was I in trouble for? Probably
for rejoining some taunt with my fists. Years

pass and I receive my fair share of bludgeoning,
pressed down in the dirt outside the school,

adults sitting on top of me and pinning my
limbs as I buck and flail wildly, seeing black.

I grow tall. My mother sprouts crow’s feet,
makes clicking sounds with her talons when

she walks. Starts dyeing her long curls brown.
We peck at our food. And always the screaming.

Now, in the After Times, I walk down the road,
hands in my pockets, hunched like a teenager.

I see a flock of sparrows pecking at concrete.
I catch a small one and stuff it in my mouth.

Its small silver breath mingles with my breath.
Its wings crack and splinter under my teeth.

I chew slowly, and blood runs down my gullet.
I savor its flavor, then spit out the feathers.

I learned from my mother to eat our birds,
who learned from her mother to eat her birds,

who learned from her own mother to always
pick her teeth clean of feathers when she ate.

About Sean Eaton

Sean Eaton is a poet hailing from the hills of Vermont. His favorite writers are Amy Clampitt and Ruth Stone. He has written one chapbook and one full-length book of poetry, which he hopes to have published. This is his first time appearing in print.