The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and Flights of Fancy

A Glossary Of Chickens
By Gary Whitehead

There should be a word for the way
they look with just one eye, neck bent,
for beetle or worm or strewn grain.
"Gleaning," maybe, between "gizzard"
and "grit." And for the way they run
toward someone they trust, their skirts
hiked, their plump bodies wobbling:
"bobbling," let's call it, inserted
after "blowout" and before "bloom."
There should be terms, too, for things
they do not do—like urinate or chew—
but perhaps there already are.
I'd want a word for the way they drink,
head thrown back, throat wriggling,
like an old woman swallowing
a pill; a word beginning with "S,"
coming after "sex feather" and before "shank."
And one for the sweetness of hens
but not roosters. We think
that by naming we can understand,
as if the tongue were more than muscle.


Having visited farms several times this spring, I feel that this poem completely rings true. Whitehead's most recent book is Measuring Cubits While the Thunder Claps.

It was a quiet Monday around here -- I had to wait for UPS to come pick up a package, which of course they didn't do till lunchtime (a Tarot deck I got as a gift that was missing several cards and had several other duplicated; this is the third deck published by Llewellyn that I've had a problem with, if it happens again I'm never buying from them again even though they publish decks by some of my favorite Tarot artists like Lisa Hunt and Stephanie Pui-mun Law, they should take more pride in their artists' work if not their customers' satisfaction). I got several loads of laundry washed while waiting, at least, and futzed around on Facebook chatting with people.

It wasn't a terribly eventful evening, either; Paul made "meatloaf" with veggie "meat" that three of us thought was great and older son refused to eat, then we all watched the last two episodes of Smallville from this season, which we had missed while driving to New York and attending older son's chorus concert. I've been very happy with the women's roles on the show this season -- sure, they spend a lot of time agonizing over their romantic relationships, but Clark, Oliver, and even Zod have as well, so it's not like there's a sexist double standard, and they've all been nicely complicated for comic book characters.

I loved Martha Kent being the Red Queen -- I figured she might be, since it clearly wasn't Chloe, Lois, or Tess, but then I had a terrible moment of thinking maybe Martha was a red herring and Lana was going to show up, since this is the first full season I've really felt like the show has broken free of her and her baggage. I've also been disappointed that other than knowing Martha became a senator, we haven't really gotten to see her powerful kick-ass side -- even now she's hiding behind apple pie when Clark's around -- so I love that she's jerking everyone around, even the aliens trying to take over the world. And Perry White saying he wants to get her clothes off not knowing Clark is right there is priceless. I think I actually enjoyed "Hostage" more than "Salvation" since I really wanted to smack Lois upside the head for ever believing Zod, who on the one hand can be touchingly moving and on the other hand spouts all those cliches about how might makes right and only the strong survive. I'll miss Callum Blue if he's off the show, but I won't miss the Kandorian arc -- I want to watch Superman interact with humans more and aliens less.

Some photos from the butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens:

In Flights of Fancy, butterflies are free to fly throughout the conservatory...

...and land anywhere they want, including Paul's shorts.

Remember the picture I took of my son taking a picture of a butterfly? Here's the view from his side.

This enormous atlas moth had just emerged from the chrysalis you can see behind it.

There's also an enclosed case of chrysalises, which is how many of the butterflies arrive at the exhibit since they only live as adults for a couple of weeks; every few hours the case is opened to let the newly emerged butterflies fly free.

And there are trays of fruit out for the juice-drinkers.

This caterpillar will be a Baltimore Checkerspot when it grows up.

I believe this is a tiger longwing.

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