Chicken Pluckers

They huddled and breathed, scratched and clucked,
jerked and leaned, stacked on long tables waiting
three cages high, wing to wing, ten to a locker white brown

black yellow all in it together equal opportunity workplace
only the sons wished they could be anywhere but here
and on this subject the birds had to agree

the brothers knew how to wield a knife, sharpened blade
just so fifteen degree acute angle music on metal
never blind to the executioner’s bind

6 am to 6pm six days a week the sharper the blade the better
the bone the swifter the work the cleaner the cut the quieter
the complaint the faster the end the sooner they close

Fredda Jaffe

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