The Henhouse

Illustration by Ken Sellen

The Henhouse
by J. Adam Collins


We ought to burn this house down,
I think. We ought to get up slowly,
so as not to disturb the watch
on sleep’s brink. We are picked off
three times a day, end up stuck
broken hollow bones picking teeth,
plucked and left naked at the cross-
street saying please throw me some
meat. That seed don’t feed us no more.

We ought to tear this house apart,
I’m sure. We ought to take
it all down nail by board, cut
the tin roof where the cock once
stood, paint our bodies red, and
only pretend to play dead.
Lock the gold away—tomorrow
can’t be good. Our little ones
may need it someday.

And they will wail and wait for us,
I’m afraid. When they wake
up each morning with their
heads in the ground to keep
away the sound of the axe
on the block, the licking of chops,
the trough full of slops—and there,
still on the night’s watch is the fox.
Who’d have thought?

Someone ought to have taken
that fox by now.        This house—
We ought to burn this house down,
I think.

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