Poultry by Diane K. Martin


His father, Isidore, was a chicken plucker in a kosher shop.
They ate a lot of eggs and chickens. He hated the chickens
strung up by their necks in the window of the shop. And the
smell of the pin feathers his mother burned off on the gas.
He hated his mother, Yetta, who told him that she never
meant to have another after Claire, that he was a mistake.
And he hated her lettuce and boiled chicken. And yet,

years after Isidore’s heart gave out and Yetta was stowed
in Kittay House Jewish Home, he stopped, one evening at
Ernie’s Kosher Poultry in the Bronx and bought a just-dead
hen and took it home to us. And he cut into it to show us
the egg in her where it waited to be hatched. But after he
burned the book Yetta wrote about her life, and before he
died, oh how he craved fricassee and a fried egg sandwich.


Diane K. Martin has been published in American Poetry Review, diode, Field, Kenyon Review, Plume, Rhino, River Styx, and many other journals and anthologies. One of her poems won a prize from Smartish Pace, another placed second in Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Competition, and another received a Pushcart Special Mention. Her first collection, Conjugated Visits, was a National Poetry Series finalist and was published by Dream Horse Press. Her second collection, Hue & Cry, debuted in spring 2020 from MadHat Press.