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Oh, to be a natural young chicken–

wings tucked, limbs neatly tied,

organs lovingly tucked away in its cavity,

vacuum sealed to perfection.

A natural young chicken is roasted–

basted in its drippings until crisp skin glistens.

It’s the holiday centerpiece on a platter,

tender meat, sliced with a carving knife.

Natural young chickens recline on the good china

and lounge atop tablecloths adorned with holly.

Prayers are prayed before silverware is raised,

and hands are hesitant to disrupt the masterpiece.

No one roasts a ground beef–

I’ll be thrown in a pan and browned.

(Who wants to be browned?)

I’ll be pushed around and scattered,

cursed at when I spit up my angry grease.

Ground beef is smothered in sauce

and scooped up in an old wooden ladle.

I’ll be slopped down onto a pile of spaghetti

tangled on hand me down plates–

no prayers necessary.

What do a beef’s legs look like?

My limbs are a dream that I can’t quite recall.

But surely, if a beef had wings,

they’d be covered in feathers

as red as our ground parts.

The children would wake at dawn on that special day,

shuffling out the door in their slippers and gowns,

praying to catch a glimpse of the annual migration–

the rare sight of beefs in flight.

The sky would be painted red

by the flurry of crimson wings,

swooping up and down and around the snowy fields–

a scene worthy of Christmas cards.



My cat doesn’t ask for much,

just a warm body to lay upon.

So I concede, and transform

my dinner plate into a flying saucer,

hovering above a warm field

of tortoiseshell fur.

My cat doesn’t seem to mind

when the crumbs tangle into her fur,

turning her into an accidental calico.

She doesn’t even flinch

when I pick out the crumbs and eat them,

because I have no manners.

My cup of water

becomes my mother’s disapproving face–

a dozen judging eyes

sliding down the glass.

I hear the muffled laugh of my father’s ghost

outside the window.

His smile is contorted

through the double pane,

while he laughs in the shadows

with the creatures of the night.



A band of sunlight is painted

across my bedroom floor,

and I have been cold for too long.

I crawl toward the light

like some slimy, mutant fish

who sprouted legs,

emerging from my dark abyss

for a taste of the warmth.

I contort myself into a sundial,

prostrate like some sacred sacrifice

and let the light wash over me.

I feel each minute tick across my body–

the steady shift of heat,

the pulses of light.

The beam settles on my face

and I open my eyes for the first time,

and stare into the burning eye of god.


M.K. Greer (she/her) lives in Maryland with her family. Recent work has appeared in Rejection Letters, Rust + Moth, Reservoir Road Literary Review, and Whale Road Review. You can find her on Twitter: @MKGreerPoetry.

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