imageKelly Bancroft

Another Sunday with this trinity of you — your oldest downstairs watching TV, you and your youngest here whisking eggs for an omelet. And again the litany: Is this really a chicken? he asks. You give him the short answer: Yes. He laughs, wonders where the eyes might have been, if it died in the fridge, what it might have felt. Another short answer: You need a brain to feel.

You're trying to slim him down, only one omelet a weekend. His legs and arms grow so full you can barely lift him to your shoulders. The sun beats our tattered backyard shed where a trapped cardinal once shredded its wings. In the awning a vacated nest where last May a new bird hung tangled upside-down until its eyes caved in. Why did the chicken cross the road? he asks.

I want to say something of what it takes to get to the other side of this. Of grief and flight. The damn over-easy sun. The blare from the basement, anvils black as skillets drop from clouds.  A cartoon man keeps passing the same background: still-life, mantel, vase of flowers, still-life, mantel, vase of flowers. Then a hen house, the red hands of the farmer's wife reaching into the dark heat.  And her basket, her kitchen. I hear the hiss of butter, the shells crack, dawn sizzling. The whirling laughter of the children.