Onto the dense undergrowth of stunted hay stalks and wide leafed grasses, a pheasant I shot shouldered its graceless fall. I remember we, that bird and I, were in a clearing on a hill. The surrounding woods had long since turned their colors and shook off their dead growths. The sky was clear. The air was cold. The place was interrupted only by my hunger.
Stand on the outstretched wings.
Take up the talons in your hands.
Each vertebrae popped in dislocation. The skin of the bird ripped and I felt the vibration of each horror through the palms of my hands.
Tear away the muscles from the organs;
The liver also.
I carried the pieces of bird home and cooked them in their own fat over the low heat of a gas stove and a cast iron pan. I ate the pieces of bird straight from the pan with my unwashed hands
And the meat arrested me
Into a shallow, dreamless sleep
On a couch
Near a pantry
Full of food.
Thomas Benfield is a graduate of the New School’s documentary poetry concentration. He currently works and lives in Brooklyn, NY as a script writer for a forthcoming long-form biographical podcast.
Thomas has been published in The New London Day, The Ibbetson Street Press, Eleven and a Half Journal, and Showbear Family Circus.
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