Grandma loves to
tell the story
when they were too poor
in the ‘50’s to buy Sunday
dinner, one day a guy
at the office struck them
a cheap deal – Grandpa
bought twelve live
chickens, three
to a metal cage.
Grandpa, always quiet
and gentle had never killed
a bird before, and she says,
laughing so hard
her eyecorners start to
buckle and swim,
that the first neck he took
an axe to ended
up pulped
as applesauce
before he could
tell if he’d
killed it.
They wheeled
their legs around after
their heads came off,
blood and grey
sticky feathers covered
the strawberry patch.
Grandma took a hose to it,
Grandpa put the birds
in the meat freezer,
and the boys, five and three,
watched from the kitchen
window, and little
Johnnie was crying.

-Jade Conlee