New Zealand Poetry Magazine –

"Too Chicken" by Ellen Walker


Title image shows a mountain and trees reflected in a lake at sunset.

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Published September 1st, 2023

Too Chicken

by Ellen Walker
(Wellington, New Zealand)

Wings, thighs, drumsticks, breasts,
Posing with a carving knife asking which I like best
Tearing into flesh with bare hands
Chewing ligaments, cartilage, but bones I can't stand
My sharp canines aren't just for show
I'm too chicken to let anyone know

The grease is seeping into my skin
You could've sworn I was a vegetarian
Marked by every animal I devour
I shove meat in my mouth for hours and hours

Leaving you to question your own free will
In this line of work, I take what I kill
Bring the heat to a simmer once it boils
Eat it all before it spoils
I don't mean to be so visceral
Looking at the remains and it's all gristle

It's a shame I can't eat KFC
Gluten doesn't sit well with me
I would binge on life all day if I could
Resisting feminine urges to walk into the woods

Ellen Walker is a teacher and writer based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. She has been published in various independent zines as well as being self-published. She has also cohosted a podcast and performed stand-up comedy. She now channels her humour into poetry. In her spare time, she walks her Schnoodle, Pippy.

This poem is included in Poetry World #7, published in the Wax Poetry and Art Library.

Previously published in New Zealand Poetry Magazine:
This is the first poem published in New Zealand Poetry Magazine.

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