That Chicken

Mayor

Madeline Rogero
mayor@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-2040

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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One of the poems read at the John T. O'Connor Senior Center on October 9, 2018.

By Marilyn Kallet


That Chicken

Was a senior citizen
an octogenarian
the oldest one in Valence d’Agen.
That chicken’s skin was so thick
it couldn’t be insulted.
Nothing could hurt it, not even a knife.
That chicken was so old it knew my Grandma Anna in Minsk.

That chicken was so tough
even the boiling water complained.
That chicken wasn’t worth 15 Euros.
15!  That chicken was tougher than the pot,
tougher than the teenage boys who rumbled last night by the dock,
and much less sexy.

That chicken was one of two on Noah’s ark.
I ate it because I paid for it.
Each bite was an insult.
That was the chicken they saved for the American.
That was the chicken that broke détente.

I made a soup of it,
and with enough hours and white wine
even the oldest clucking citizen of the republic
gave way to my teeth.
With a loaf of olive bread to distract me
I polished off that beast.
But was it a chicken or a buzzard?
Je m’en fous!  For fifteen Euros I’d eat a hedgehog
if it landed in my shopping bag.
I’m no spring chicken
but I’m livelier than that old bird.


Poem is from The Love That Moves Me, Black Widow Press, 2013.