Passing a Truck Full of Chickens at Night on Highway Eighty

This poem offers an alternative point of view in the end.  It lifted the mood, which I needed when I got there.

Passing a Truck Full of Chickens at Night on Highway Eighty                        Jane Mead

What struck me first was their panic.

Some were pulled by the wind from moving

to the ends of the stacked cages,

some had their heads blown through the bars-

and could not get them in again.

Some hung there like that – dead-

their own feathers blowing, clotting

in their faces. Then

I saw the one that made me slow some –

I lingered there beside her for five miles.

She had pushed her head through the space

between bars-to get a better view.

She had the look of a dog in the back

of a pickup, that eager look of a dog

who knows she’s being taken along.

She craned her neck.

She looked around, watched me, then

strained to see over the car – strained

to see what happened beyond.

That is the chicken I want to be.

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