Chickens This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.


Themarketplace stinks of sweat and
shimmers with heat.
The air holds down theunbearable weight of it,
suffocating, stifling,
rescued by an occasionalbreeze.
Chickens squawk indignantly in
wooden cages.
Small beady eyesthat never stay still, feathers flying everywhere.
They are just a blur of redand white.
Country colors. How patriotic.
I avert my eyes, not wanting towaste my time
on stupid chickens.
They seem to know; they are mirroringme,
In a minute, in an hour, in a day - maybe even forever.
I don'tknow.
At this point, I might not even care.
I lean back to rest on my arms,a "strained counterfeit of perfect ease,"
hoping for my Daisy toshow.
The Place had white plaster ceilings.
There were cracks thatresembled pain.
The line would start off slow, then gradually get moreerratic.
And it would suddenly peter out into
many tiny littlecracks,
Like broken glass.
Were there other people?
Sitting next to me,across from me, behind me?
I don't know.
I doubt they'll be there forlong.
Screams make customers uncomfortable; they'll just sit therewondering.
Flinching at every shriek.
Or maybe they don't care.
Don'twant to care.
Didn't ever care.
I feel chilled.
Chilled in the middayon the equator.
The thought strikes me as immensely funny
- very ironic. Ifight an urge to laugh out loud
because I want to blend in. I say I don'tcare, and I don't,
but I want to blend in.
An extraordinarily loudsquawk
snaps me out of my reverie.
I glare at the blurry red andwhite.
Their small black eyes defiantly glare back.
I suddenly feeluncomfortable.
Damn chickens.
I stare up again, desperate for somethingelse to focus on.
A gecko is crawling on the upper right side of theceiling.
Its movements are abrupt.
A fleeting thought: it looksscared.
It hurries, then stays still.
Move, stop.
Move, stop.
Itseems confused as to where it wants to go.
Left, Right, Front, Back
North,South, East, West
It gets boring.
I gaze outside, between the small whitepillars, into the courtyard.
The courtyard is picture perfect,
save forthe loud ones.
But I pretend they don't exist.
One can get very good atthat with practice.
Neat little sidewalks with
lush greenery in fullbloom,
Tenderly bent to protect passersby from the sun,
offeringshade.
Blue sky, fluffy white clouds.
It looks outstanding against the redtiles
on the roof.
It is disconcerting.
Too nice. Too beautiful.
Soat odds with what I am here for.
I don't like it.
The postcard picturemocks me.
It mocks me, teases me, flirts shamelessly
with my mind.
Iconsider idly the thought of breaking something to
make it imperfect.
Ihave deliberately avoided looking at those damn chickens.
Their screams grateon my nerves.
I don't want to think about why they are even
Screaming.Shrieking.
Who cares. Who cared.
Past, Present, Future.
Fact ofLife:
Chickens are to be eaten.






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By Brandon C.,
Grand Junction, CO



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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the January 2001 Teen Ink Travel Contest.






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