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The Boy Who Cried Chicken

Donald Illich

The first time he yelled it the colonel
came running with his hungry regiment
of angry losers and undignified officers.
They stored their mess-kits back in
their backpacks, ignored their grumbling
bellies and their feelings of vengeance.
The second time a gang of animal activists
surrounded his yard, demanded the bird be
freed. They liberated a spider from its web,
asked him to be on the lookout for a bear
that was only doing what came naturally,
eating Cub Scouts, being discriminated
against by hunters. With the third time
the village had had enough. If it had
been a wolf the townspeople would’ve
left the child to fend off fangs himself.
His disappearance down the beast’s gullet
would’ve been sad but acceptable. Instead,
they’re tortured by the smell of fried
chicken, a whole flock of breasts and wings
they’ll miss out on, because they didn’t
understand some warnings must always
be responded to, even if they fear this time
will be like the last, featherless, without hope.

Donald Illich

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