Saturday 18 June 2022

'The Chicken/Egg Index' by Audrey Niven


+50 Buttermilk fried, the apogee of chicken, its chickeniest chickenness, rich gold with bite and crunch and tenderness. Chicken grabbed with both hands, with gusto, with chin-dripping dipping sauce.

+40 Pecking at feed scattered from childish hands, here chicky-chick-chick, delighting in their squawks and rust-red feathers, a memory so deep you can still feel the grain and the hand that held yours.

+30 The rooster cock-a-doodle-doing his early warning, a wake-up call that nobody, not even the hens, pays any mind to, though one day soon they’ll regret it.

+20 Cooped up. Nobody here but us chickens, rows and rows of us minding our own business, living our small lives.

+10 Fearful, at the side of the road not sure if you want to cross or why you would risk it, not brave enough to venture to the other side and see what’s there.

0 Neither chicken nor egg, egg nor chicken, a world without feathers to fly, not even the dream of wings.

-10 Boiled, with soldiers decapitated and salt-sprinkled to start your day, a bloody beginning dressed up as joy.

-20 Rolling pel-mell down a hill, bright-coloured by inexpert hands and left to rot in the wet grass when chocolate is offered instead.

-30 Broken, inevitably, because no-one escapes the great omelette of life.

-40 Harvested and frozen, just in case, before the treatment, for the future, holding each other, pressing body to body, hope to hope.

-50 Nothing but potential, boneless, pipping, waiting to hatch.


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