I saw an old woman stand in the middle of
A barnyard full of screaming chickens.
Her apron was wrapped around her body,
And her eyes were cold and gray, like steel.
Her grey hair was tied in a bun off of her neck.
She walked like a stevedore with strong legs,
And powerful hips in the morning sunlight.
The sun’s rays bounced off the small hatchet
She carried in fingers shaped like talons.
She hardly glanced at the small child at her side.
The child was riveted by the screaming of the chickens
And wanted her body to be anywhere else, but here.
She could smell the fear of the chickens around her.
She could sense the excitement of the old woman beside her.
The old lady’s lips peeled back from her teeth, yellowed with age,
And with a quick movement, she grabbed a chicken
And snapped its neck with a twist of her strong wrist.
To the child, it sounded like a loud, ungodly crack.
The little girl’s body jerked as she was being pulled
Closer to the chopping block covered with cuts.
Her tears fell on a face reflecting sheer terror.
The old lady’s hatchet hit the back of the neck
Of the limp chicken’s body. spraying the girl
With blood that smelled like an old piece of iron.
The old woman laughed and giggled as the child
Screamed and cried, and ran through the sunlight,
Searching for a hiding place, some place safe to go,
Away from the stink of blood, death, and despair,
And a woman who didn’t feel compassion for anyone.