The window in my bedroom looked out on a plum tree in the side yard. Beyond that was a stonewall dad built long before I came around. Several feet below on the other side of the wall, a creek. During summer, huge copperheads sometimes lay on the creek bed soaking up the sun. Mom planted a Rose of Sharon next to a section of wall where she would sit a tub of boiling water when she was plucking a chicken.

Mom raised chickens. Most Sundays after church, she would open the back door, point, and say… “That one.”

Then the chicken was caught and hung upside down by its feet on a clothesline. Mom would cut its throat with a large butcher knife and the blood ran out down, into the ground. From there the chicken was carried to the boiling water where it was plucked, gutted, divided and taken to the kitchen to fry for dinner. I never cared for the ritual, but I loved the taste of chicken.

On washdays I helped mom hang out the laundry to dry. I remember always looking at the ground to see if I could tell where the blood from last week’s dinner had gone. It seemed to me the grass grew thicker and darker in those areas.

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