Thanksgiving

They gobble their

joy as I walk into their pen.

Their spindly legs struggle

to hold up their overgrown flesh.

They’re hungry, denied

food for the first time in their short

lives. Encircling me and the food dish

they seem expectant, unable

to read the sadness in my eyes.

I glance at my watch.

Two hours, twenty minutes

until we gather and celebrate

their lives. Thirty more and we will

slit the first throat, letting

blood drip down her beak as she bleeds

out, watching as the jerking of her body slows to a stop.

They keep warbling, huddling

close in anticipation of food

I can’t provide them. They are now

food themselves, stripped of

autonomy before we strip

them of their feathers. They are

walking drumsticks. Three hours will pass

and their still-warm corpses will be plucked, cleaned,

made into the centerpieces for our meals.

The yard will be empty,

fewer living things

in this world.

What is there here to be thankful for?

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