augury doggerel

Friday, May 03, 2002

Roosters, Turkey

The woman and I walked down the road between the boneyard and the nuthouse this morning and headed into the garden allotments. The front gate is a large metal contrivance with (my clumsy translation here) "Workers' Gardens Named in Honor of the Heroes of Monte Cassino" in big rusted letters over the top, but we were going in through the back.

We heard a rooster, then another and another. So many loud roosters, I thought kids were pulling our legs (or our collective leg?). Then we saw a man and his roosters. Unlike the weekend gardeners who own the other plots, this old guy was living in a tiny fenced home with a dirt yard. Roosters and hens stepped everywhere. Chickens were roosting in a Trabant up on blocks. At least five roosters tried to outcrow one another. A black dog chained near the back said nothing, kept out of it, wished chickens would vanish. An even older woman, probably the man's mother, came out to feed the chickens. And a huge turkey cruised through the chickens like an alien being gliding through confused men. He dragged his wings in the dust to impress with the hiss. His face was not the face you know from cartoons or even the photos of fairly photogenic turkeys distributed by the various turkey federations and food councils. Maybe he was an old turkey, or an old turkey's nightmare. He wore a blue and purple hanging mask, a drape of flesh swinging like a biblical punishment, a disembowelment, a flaying, from head almost to ground. And when he approached a female, all that exposed, baggy flesh � carbuncle, snood, wattle � turned a solid blood red.


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