From SPEARVILLE, KANSAS by Cynthia Macdonald
"There were lots of chickens on the farm,
but this one was his pet. He named it
Clarence for that dead big brother
who’d been killed: his arm caught in
the threshing machine. Clarence, a Barred
Plymouth Rock, went everywhere with him.
That day in the ripe berry patch, the patch
where he’d been sent to pick worms off
the fruit, Clarence was beside him,
walking the rows of red Valentine heart berries,
berries you’d have thought Clarence might
have pecked at, but he never did.
So the boy dropped the choicest worms
into Clarence’s mouth, telling him
“good chicken, best chicken.” And his beak
opened almost as if he were a mechanical
marvel. A marvel until he died. Too much
fulfillment can kill you. When the boy
grew up he became a famous surgeon.
The intestinal tract. Sunday: Bible study.
Two of his sons, Billy and Robert,
were born with big strawberry marks
on their faces. But that is surely just
coincidence, surely not just punishment.”
Poem from:I Can’t Remember by Cynthia Macdonald
Watercolor by Tracie Thompson