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.
EATING DINNER WITH MY CAT ON A THURSDAY
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.