Monday, November 12, 2018

A tail of two roosters

we had two roosters too many
just black balls of fluff
tumbling around the chook yard
in the beginning

they soon grew into two beautiful big boys
with red red combs, orange and black flecked
feathers fingered through their long tails
long horny spurs

their coming of age
brought a reign of terror
to the yard

they fought of course—
with each other,
with their dad
(who was a nice subdued old bird
we kept him 'cause he never attacked the kids)

worse, they constantly molested our ten hens
as they tried to go about their humble business
of pecking, finding grubs, laying the odd egg,
turning our quiet yard into an endless scene of commotion

so last night after dark
I took the first rooster
quickly from his perch
without any real struggle

and out in the yard
I held his legs in one hand and his head with the other
and pulled hard, and long, so all the little neck bones cracked
like a busted necklace
and he groaned and quickly died

when I carried the second rooster out
his old father flapped down from the perch
and made a low croak, as if to say:
“No—not my son!”

but I didn't hesitate
I had made up my mind
and I broke the second rooster's neck too
though he was stronger and took longer to die
letting out one last crow unexpectedly

I carried the limp bodies down to the creek
laid them down
threw some green grass over their orange feathers
and left them there as food for foxes

there was no crowing in the morning
and the yard was peaceful
everyone going about their business
of pecking, finding grubs, and laying the odd egg

none minding the long orange tail feather
floating like a flag in the water bowl