Dot Finds the Ghost Cocks

by Erin Elizabeth Smith

Teresa tells Dot of the crooked barn,
how, drunk one night, a flock teens tried to
tear it down, where once men brought their toothed cocks
to rip song from one another. The old
woman sold cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches
as the night dipped itself in new blood. Dot
thinks plumage, the iridescence of wet
feather and comb. She almost wants to love
the way men once did. How each would foster
downy chicks in their plastic tubs, sprinkle
them with meal worm and scratch. The rusty chain,
chorus of crow in the newly warm dawn.
How birds learn from their own isolation.
Dot hears them sometimes, toeing the turned leaves.
Tonight, she wants to see them want to live,
so she swings her legs from the wooden deck
and waits for the ghostly show to begin.