Chicken. Chicken. Pi­geon. Crow.


From From the Heart of It All: Ten Years of Writ­ing from Van­cou­ver’s Down­town East­side, an an­thol­ogy of work that was pro­duced at the Thurs­days Writ­ing Col­lec­tive meet­ings at Carnegie Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. Pub­lished by Ot­ter Press in 2018. James Witwicki has lived in the Down­town East­side since 2010. He has doc­u­mented his jour­ney in po­etry, prose and pho­tos as part of the Hope in Shad­ows project. Anna is now seven and has lived in the Down­town East­side her whole life.

Or­ganic, free-range, her­itage chick­ens. Gar­den-grown, wild rasp­berry eaters. Peck. Peck. Peck. Peck.

Each has a dif­fer­ent egg.

"Egg, beg, fegs, wegs, legs, lags!"

It's a peck­ing or­der.

Cherry tomato gob­blers.

Heads up­right. Heads for­ag­ing in dirt. Two pi­geons and a crow. Sen­tinels. "Pi­geon, wigeon, sti­jeon!"

Feath­ers of many colours,

Many pat­terns.

Beau­ti­ful chick­ens. Dif­fi­cult to de­scribe. Var­ie­gated. Var-i-gay-tid.

Like the big, brown, beau­ti­ful

Speck­led eggs.

Is it ironic that the all-white chicken rules? Her lux­u­ri­ant feath­ers cas­cad­ing

Over mus­cles that move.

Au­thor­i­ta­tive. Pre­cise. In charge.

The oth­ers may feel that she

Is a nit-pickin', peckin' chicken. We can­not know.

They pick their way around her. Obe­di­ent. Cau­tious. Slow.

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