Edwin Brock

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The Song of the Battery Hen

5.00   (3 votes)

We can't grumble about accommodation:

we have a new concrete floor that's

always dry, four walls that are

painted white, and a sheet-iron roof

the rain drums on. A fan blows warm air

beneath our feet to disperse the smell

of chicken shit and, on dull days

fluorescent lightening sees us.

 

You can tell me: if you come by

the north door, I am in the twelfth pen

on the left hand side of the third row

from the floor; and in that pen

I am usually the middle one of three.

But even without directions, you'd

discover me. I have the same orange-red

comb, yellow beak and auburn

feathers, but as the door opens and you

hear above the electric fan a kind of

one word wail, I am the one

who sounds loudest in my head.

 

Listen. Outside this house there's an

orchard with small moss-green apple

trees; beyond that, two fields of

cabbages; then on the far side of

the road, a broiler house. Listen:

one cockerel grows out of there, as

tall and proud as the first of the hour of the sun.

Sometimes I stop cackling with the others

to listen, and wonder if he hears me.

 

The next time you come here, look for me.

Notice the way I sound inside my head.

God made us all differently,

And blessed us with this expensive home.

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