Gallus gallus domesticus (chicken)
What was Noah thinking
when he saved them
from the flood?
They rule the world,
these birds more numerous
than swallows, next in line
for avian primacy.
Last year 66 billion
were hatched, dwarfing
the long-gone passenger pigeon,
that counted only 5 billion
among their aerial relations.
Everyone today could have
nearly nine hens each,
if we shared.
Their crowded beakless brood awaits
the coming inundation, when
their ancestors’ blood returns
to lumber among new giants,
and their old bones populate
the dumps with fossil remains.
Hail the Supremes (with a Warning)
Just once, of late, you got it right:
let the people count.
In a time that now seems
different, you voted differently—
after the swarm of foreign reporters
outside the Miami-Dade courtroom
asked what will happen?;
after the police threatened arrest
to the so-called loser’s
side and shielded the others
as they moved to meet
the national press; after
the sweltering recount rooms
where operatives challenged
every ballot, even those without a
hanging chad, and where a pack
of manufactured Midwest men
with pale blue oxford button-downs
and precise blond crew-cuts attacked
the harried electors; after the rallies
where Haitian Americans
and Vietnamese Americans
and Puerto Rican Americans
recounted closed signs on precincts
where they’d gone for years;
after the purged voter rolls;
after the concession and withdrawal
of concession, and second concession,
the suits and lawsuits and appeals,
you changed history: the endless
wars, not yet ended.
Mission (not) Accomplished.
The unceasing aftermath, flag-draped
coffins arriving from overseas and finally
banned from public view.
Now, Supremes, you have to get it
right. Don’t self-promote
and claim your objectivity.
Don’t look the other way.
Let all voters vote.
A teacher and writer for over forty years, Karen Kilcup is the Elizabeth Rosenthal Professor of English, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at UNC Greensboro. Her forthcoming book, The Art of Restoration, won the 2021 Winter Goose Poetry Prize.