Self-Portrait as Chicken Dinner by Erin Slaughter

Erin Slaughter is editor and co-founder of literary journal The Hunger, and the author of two poetry chapbooks: GIRLFIRE (dancing girl press, 2018) and Elegy for the Body(Slash Pine Press, 2017). You can find her writing in Prairie Schooner, Passages North, F(r)iction, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. Originally from north Texas, she is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at Florida State University. Her first full-length poetry collection is forthcoming from New Rivers Press in 2019.


Self-Portrait as Chicken Dinner


She is a flocked hen going further

west. Like a rucksack slung

over the shoulder in an old

movie, what she contains is less

important than the visual.


When did she become afraid

of her own foolish cluck and scrape

away from the claw-footed earth?


For home is not a blank thing

that wanders. For shelter

is a wooden stake

through the heart.


And always that dead

ghost glazes her skin, thin

film ruddying feathers.

She names it love and gives up

on soap or articulating hurt.


Catalog her contents, blueprint for slicing

open: the cute, crumpled gizzard.

The menagerie of howls caged up

in her heart. When she is hollowed


like the animal ribs of a hundred

historical Thanksgivings,

it’s the handles that pierce

corn from either side to keep it

in place. All we cannot bear

to notice as the cob collapses

shucks and lifts its yellow,


brittle prayer to a hall of teething

mirrors. To a hallway of mirroring teeth.

Anna Dore
Anna Dore
Editor-in-Chief at New Plains Review
Managing Editor and Blog Editor for The New Plains Review.

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