Guest Post: The Bird

(Christi contributed this great prose poem to Postcard Poems)

My mother loves whole baked chicken, the kind you get already cooked from the grocery store. It’s good, that first night. After that you have to pick it over, lifting the greasy wings, sawing off the meat, turning it over onto its brittle ribs to scrape the back for the parts nobody wanted the first time around.

While I did this, we discussed my brother. His ways, his silences. Why his ribs stick out, why he won’t eat.(Light meat stained dark by tendons.) Mom likes to do this too, pry people open. Discover their whys, their secret parts. (Rubbery fat on the thighs. Cracked wishbone.) Why is he depressed, why isn’t he married. (Stringy arteries that get in the way. Grainy marrow.) Why sometimes he talks too much, why sometimes he wants to die.

She laughs, I think to lighten the mood. “What.” I say.
“You’ve seen me do this so many times, now it’s your turn.”
“What?” I say again.
“To take apart the chicken,” she says. Oh, I think. I try not to think about it too hard. The carcass, its cooked muscle. The bird it used to be.


Caroline has a PhD in religion and studies Mormon women.

You may also like...

No Responses

  1. ProudMamaBlogga says:


  2. Deborah says:

    I loved this piece when I first read it. The conversation in the kitchen that is so ordinary, so revealing — I’ve had this conversation.

  3. G says:

    wow… that was stunning. so very very visceral.

  4. Ana says:

    This is beautiful. My thought in response was, better to pick it apart than to throw it away. (That’s what I do with those rotisserie chickens when I’m feeling lazy!)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.