This poem is part of CavanKerry’s series for National Poetry Month. Every day in April, we post a poem from our community of writers.
by Celia Bland
In prison, it struck you:
it wasn’t Daddy’s chickens you hated
but their numbers — the scores
scratching sawdust with spurred claws
in the barn,
sequins pinned for eyes.
Just like those lash-lined
hog-eyes watching you shit
between the roots of the oak, then
wade into the creek to sluice off
Prison mess is the scratch and caw
of roosters at the feeders.
And here’s you again
scooping into troughs stinking of saltpeter and
They say a cock
crew when Peter denied our Saviour,
comb like chawed meat, skull
full of beans.
But even Jesus knew:
chickens just gotta doodle-doo.
CELIA BLAND is the author of thirteen books for young readers, including the historical novel, The Conspiracy of the Secret Nine, which was a finalist for the Heckin Award for Children’s Fiction. Her poetry has been collected in anthologies published by CavanKerry, Persea and Faber & Faber, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a contributing editor to The New York Public Library Desk Reference, and has published articles in Poets & Writers, Forbes Best of the Web, Art & Antiques and other magazines. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley and is Director of College Writing at Bard College.