Rebecca Gayle Howell

How to Kill a Rooster

Because he’s spurred you

grab him by his neck and his legs


Hold him in both your hands

Look him in the eye


Let him ask

if you are to kill him today


then tell him yes     say yes

with your own eye


just before you take him

to the clothes line


and tie him up

by his yellow feet


Take a blade

Cut his throat


Watch his blood drip

to the ground


Watch his wings spread

and flap and flap and


while you watch this desperate bird

and think to yourself


I will never be like him


remember in the end you will

drop him in boiling water


pluck each of his oily feathers

between your fingers


Remember in the end

you will taste him


for good



This poem first appeared in Ecotone (Issue 9) and is from Render / An Apocalypse (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013).