about the author

Gerald Yelle has been a factory worker, computer operator and customer service representative. He currently teaches high school English. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gloom Cupboard, Barnwood and The Oyez Review. Notes, comments and links can be found at geraldyelle.blogspot.com. He is a member of the Florence (MA) Poetry Society and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Prolegomena to the Further Returning of Chickens

Gerald Yelle

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Here it is; we’ll lay it out flat so you can see the nature
of our injury: We were living on the Checkerboard
when rumors began to reach us of training camps the
Army set up where raw recruits could communicate
with horses. Hell: they could whinny so loud beached
whales began filing protests: They could barely hear
one another’s songs and thought the world was falling to
pieces—dire predictions that brought back memories of
swimming with the Gang of Four. Too bad they were
only as vital as yesterday’s misinformation. And maybe
it’s a sore spot, but I can’t help thinking nine eleven
and the number of fish that walked from Montauk to the
Chesapeake in the autumn of that pivotal year. Who
could’ve guessed those habits of outcome had anything
to do with hygiene? Kids on clovers of blankets. They’d
take us down the wrong path for sure. But guess what:
They grew up. Their dandelion wine irrelevant as yester-
day’s horoscope. Then Baghdad’s evening’s empire
closed a bloody chapter: we put it down as dangerous
—and yesterday: news on what we could’ve guessed,
another war with two big dippers no one notices. You’d
almost take them for omens what with the sky traffic.
Little of anything but polka tunes beaming off the satel-
lite. Grant funded trolleys, garter snap soup stands,
planes too high to either see or hear. Sometimes it’s the
ringing in people’s ears that stimulates laughter: it’s a
way of anesthetizing someone we’re about to overcome.

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