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Poetry of Claire Hersom

peculiar brand of jurisprudence;
the kind he wielded outside

on the north corner of the farm
where his axe sang hallelujah over the
necks of chickens; one minute
their stuttering walk mimicking palsy,

the next in frantic flight, running headless.


Like an odd baptism after the fact,
dipped in the scalding water bucket of floating feathers,
it was last rites for a useless heart.


Dunk and pull – Nana didn’t mind the bird in her kitchen sink

to gut and clean, she’d truss across the open belly

like she was mending socks; a plain prosperity.


When dusk fell, it filtered through the farmhouse window

on steaming plates of fresh snapped beans; fluffed

potatoes from the upper field, dotted with

butter – hand churned and set a few days ago.


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Updated Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

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One Response to Poetry of Claire Hersom

  1. Doris Matthews February 13, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    One of my jobs on the farm as a young girl was to help my grandfather when it was time to slaughter a few chickens for our family of 7 children, my two sets of grandparents and my mother and father. Being fleet of foot, I would chase and chase until I successfully tackled a chicken and proudly delivered it to him where he promptly slit its throat and drained the blood before dunking in the pail of hot, steaming water. Reading your poem brought the smell of that pail right back into my nose!

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