Through sawdust wet with urine and shit,
the chicken dragged its broken leg,
pink and package ready. Its body, a springboard
for others to brawl their way to fresh water,
the half bag of feed we found and wrestled into the pen
after the owner split. Swarmed by beak and claw,
we held our noses away from the stench
he would have sold for organic. Plucked
the injured from the mob, and nestled it
in a cardboard box. All afternoon chased the cat off.
Gave it food, water. Bed it down in the shed
and left the light on, like you would for a child
afraid of the dark. And in the morning,
without the heat of the others,
found it stiff.

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