butchery & fabrication

in des moines, iowa
mama came home on a tuesday
with divorce papers
a headless chicken which smelled
of earth and blood and death

she was silent a long time
you’ll need to help out more.
roll up your sleeves. get a knife.
the boning knife like a sword like a scimitar
let’s take the feathers off.
one by one like popping
bubble wrap.

slice around the globe at the wing joint
disarticulate the bones, the cartilage,
sinew. come down hard
on the breastplate to crack
in two perfect
breasts. skin like satin sheets
slippery on my hands, my clumsy

slide up into the body cavity
into nowhere, into nothingness
pull out the heart liver kidneys
attached by threads and hope,
like pulling out seeds from a

Elin Nordklev is a chef by day and a writer by night. She lives in Brooklyn with her wife and two cats.