Bio: Dian Sousa is a poet and activist. Her Women’s March poem’s are documented by Films For Good www.filmsforgood.org. She is a recipient of a 2019 Luso-American Fellowship to the DISQUIET: Dzanc Books International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Her fourth book, The Third Power: Poems From The San Luis Obispo Women’s March was published by Women’s March SLO in 2020.
NOT MY CHICKEN, NOT MY ONTOLOGY
The volcanic red rim erupting around a chicken’s eye, have you noticed it? I wish the neighbor would. His name is Mike. He hates the chickens roosting in the backyard I share with a loquat tree. I call the chickens Tank and Hermione (because it is cumbersome to keep yelling here Gallus gallus dometicus.) Mike is not bothered by Hermione, but has an irrational distrust of Tank. Tank is a student of Houdini. I cannot prove it, but I’ve seen magical instructions carved into loquat seeds and tiny receipts for escape kits etched into egg yolks. It is 6:am on a Sunday morning. Mike knocks at the front door. He is lucky I do not sleep with a gun or a Samurai sword or a grenade (I don’t, because I do not know how to acquire weapons. Plus, unlike some of my countrymen, I have pledged my life to civility.) When I open the door, Mike says, your chicken is in my yard. It is 6:am on a Sunday! And Mike has yanked me brutally from a kaleidoscopic dream of multidimensional Rosicrucian time travel.So I ask, what color is the chicken, Mike? Mike says, I don’t know…tan. I say, Mike! I don’t have a tan chicken. Tan is the interior ruin of a sleeping mind. The chicken is burnt umber. The chicken that lives with me, Tank, is feathered in gradations of gold offset by a brown, no, a sienna that shivers from certain river rocks and sets in motion a fluttering vibrato of shadow and mud. The chicken has no papers (except maybe the Houdini files.) No last name. If she ever needs one she can peck one out of hat. But Mike just keeps saying, over and over, like an alarm clock made of rancid, ideologically animated worm meal, your chicken is in my yard. As if the chicken, with her feet descended from dinosaurs, could ever really be mine As if the yard, made of billion year old earth, could ever really be his.