Nicholas Alexander Hayes
Don’t Count Your Chickens
A Little Bird Told Me
At cyclopean angles, the factory glows pale green at the far edge of the parking lot. Jaundiced mist snakes from the rear lagoon. In the soft grass between asphalt and entry, rock doves tear tatters of purple flesh from chicken bones. Dread white tufts on knobby feet scurry around the glass and cement vestibule. Rock doves push their heads into dust. They shimmy their wings to smother mites like a shadow, the summer sun. The birds reluctantly shuffle away as boots tread past.
A hook passes through the worker’s deltoid. His heft eases into the air. Pulleys and flywheels suspend him through a steam bath. White bristles jut from the proto-simian face. Beard and beard net obscure his calcified beak. His skin puckers. His folds of fat covered with dishwater blonde wool smooth. Feathers drop from his skin. Transformed hands ache for work.
No arms chained to a daybed in a beetle’s prayer ask for the coming of this hefty boy.
Chicken with Its Head Cut Off
Sterilized the worker is left on a grate floor above a pit. The fecund smell of shit and rot salves his calcified nostrils as he sorts yellow puffballs.
Males are sent into a set of pulverizing teeth. Their pulp drains to the cement pit.
He clips the beaks off females and drops them down a chute to wallow in their brothers. Sacred chickens are thrown overboard to a frantic pulse of a gaping-mouth flock.
Mites stampede from shoulder to shoulder. Sensate masses stand above the slurry pits. Feet pierced with metal grating. Pink opaque scales pinch the metal into nimble footpads. Bodies vibrate anxiety. Lost in the slurry, incestuously fed, the ouroboros of erasure comes.
Don’t Count Your Chickens
The clucking from below is ever insistent. Beakless and filth-washed, chickens are fed intravenous carrion and dread until they are too full of themselves. They grow chicken fingers and start to liquefy in their vat.
Before they disappear, hooks catch them. On chains, poultry rises from the muck, rubbed naked by glorious waste.
The worker clips their abdomen with shears dangling on a spring. Links of bowels coil against each other as they spill. Red and pale yellow splatter onto the grate.
Smoke darkened daylight, a black amber yolk, filters through a sky light. In salmonella fear of another day, a dumpy worker in horns stumbles along the grating. Limp dick lolls from his dirty dungarees. Ravenous stains on the stretch marked saddlebags. He pisses in the pit.
The chickens look up, drown in torrents of pale yellow. He pauses awed by the fullness of viscera. Disease and abscess reveal a deeper vat. Excitement. The cascade becomes a geyser. The worker shoves his bearded face in his stream. He scratches his beard net against his maw in order to drink deeply.
Chickens Come Home to Roost
Humid air pulls the worker from enthrallment.
His scimitar clippers with surgical points butterfly a chest. Sprawled and vulnerable, the translucent meat is a gradient from pink to blue. Yellow fat hangs from the flesh, easily separating.
Innards get caught on the grate floor. He kicks them back into the pit.
Galaxies spiral from hot scaly ringworm.
From each injury, an infinity of anuses. a hydra of hollows pulse, quiver. Pink flesh rises and puckers.
Cloacal kiss precedes cloacal jade. The palest green egg rests in opaque white. Black eyes, beady and distraught, form pulsing caviar on vaginal tissue. A yellow mucus plug whispers in the milky mass and scatters in the pulse and throb of grist embedded in the cement walls.
Gore rises in the energized realm.
A static charge, a bubble collapses and unravels the coherent path.
Cloacina, beautiful in detritus and a plastic cage, hears terror above. Diamonds stashed in mineral oil run down nylon threads of the goddess’s grotto. Grotesque and lost in noblesse, she hears poultry suffer. She opens the factory floodgates and lets herself drown again in the offal offerings of the burly worker.
Her skin becomes thick with pungent amber gris belching around her.
Her tiny fingers discontent in glory, incontinent in ichor glimmer, birthing hemorrhoids.
Dead as a Dodo
Heavy metals pumped from a gate gushing waste saturate flocks still in a southward V. Salt spray desiccates feathers on mummified flesh. Crystals roll slowly over whatever they touch. Illusion of life subsumed by a second order simulation obliged to the exchange of molecule for molecule, suppleness for solidarity.
Ground shells on the lagoon’s beach sparkle.