Jointing a chicken, breast from ribcage,
thinking about her face, deflated skin, yellow eyes
clavicle like a wishbone. If you bend the legs back,
twist until they crack, your knife will find the place.
Thinking about blood around her mouth, how
the paramedic called her the wrong name, how
she used to carve her way up our street like a model.
On the slab, legs, breasts, wings in pairs
the rest in the pan keeping the tempo
of a rolling boil. Where she fell, a bottle
of gin, small jigsaw pieces in a knotted
plastic bag. I took her arm, we’d never
touched that much before, years of neighbourly
routine. She was bristling angry when her legs
gave way. The fat in the chicken stock floats,
small islands, the carcass rendered down.
‘On Thursday’ by Joy Winkler won second prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2016) judged by Roger Elkin