"Chicken Plant", "Grief", & "Mama’s Rug Is An Elegy I Cannot Write" by Chella Courington

Chicken Plant

The line chief brags

of smelling girls on the rag

Thursday he says he

dreams of eating me

I don’t tell him my dream—

hooks rip his neck

as he swings toward me

handling the blade


Daddy built biceps working for US Steel smelting iron

in heat that humbled men Now I could break his arm

brittle as kindling over my knee He used to let me walk

up his body balancing my hands on his fingertips till I flew

from his shoulders They began to sag after Mama fell

no moon out and died while he slept Daddy saved the hair

from her brush wrapped in Kleenex and stored in a wooden box

beside their bed Every night he rubs strands against his cheek

Mama’s Rug Is An Elegy I Cannot Write

Lush red wool bordering blue hydrangeas

her rug unfurls at night

By morning loose strands scatter

I weave into a mourning shawl

pray for her return

Chella Courington (she/her) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including DMQ Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She was raised in the Appalachian south and now lives in California with another writer and two feline boys. Her recent microchaps of poetry are Good Trouble, Origami Poems Project; Hell Hath, Maverick Duck Press; and Lynette’s War, Ghost City Press.