Mother Plucker
by Xander Riley

Old Mother Plucker still worked her farm
Every day by herself (when she could) -
Shucking corn, digging taters, and slopping the hogs.
She could still do it all but chop wood.

A teenage neighbor would help with the chores
Once a week when the weather was good.
But most of the jobs she still handled herself,
Taking care of her own, like she should.

The high point of her month was a visit from Beth,
For dinner, for chat and good times.
Old Mother Plucker would cook up a feast
For her daughter and grandkids to dine.

This night would be special, her grandson’s fifth year,
She would cook him his favorite meal -
Fried chicken and rice, mashed potatoes and corn,
Lemonade, apple pie – the whole deal.

The morning began with a trip to the store
To buy bread and gravy and rice.
Then a trip to the garden for taters and corn
And some lemons and apples to dice.

The drinks in the fridge were starting to cool,
And the veggies beginning to simmer.
It was time for the meat – her least favorite chore.
Beheading a chicken for dinner.

The hen house was full of cackling hens,
Each warming their eggs in their nests.
There was only one hen without eggs of its own -
That chicken was dinner for guests.

Old Mother Plucker walked into the pen
And marched over to capture the fowl.
But Clucky (she named them) had plans of her own -
It excluded being disemboweled.

Clucky ran through the coop, living up to her name -
Out the gate, past the rooster in haste.
She never slowed down in her escape.
Big Red flapped his wings with distaste.

The rooster’s short flight jarred the latch on the gate.
It swung shut and latched tight behind Clucky.
Now Old Mother Plucker had taken her place
In the coop with the hens - quite unlucky.

The latch on the gate opened easy for her.
Mother followed the path Clucky took.
By now she was angry.  She picked up the axe -
She would capture that hen, hook or crook!

Clucky had entered the house on the run.
Mother Plucker was hot on her trail.
That bird was her dinner, not a bit more.
There was no happy end to this tale.

As she entered the kitchen, the sight made her freeze.
There was food splattered all ‘round the place.
Clucky had spilt every pan in the room
Chicken dinner was winning this race.

The beep of a horn signaled family was here.
Clucky sat in the window, the winner.
Mother set down the axe and started to weep.
Her grandson would not have his dinner.

Out on the porch, she greeted her kin
While Clucky watched from inside.
She looked up at the bird, in total defeat,
But the hen was now trying to hide.

Old Mother Plucker went back to her kitchen
While her family stretched from their ride.
She found Clucky standing on top of the trash,
Pecking at something inside.

The bird didn’t fight as she lifted it up,
But it clutched in its claws a small flyer.
When Old Mother Plucker saw what it was,
It lifted her spirits much higher.

Her grandson ran in, bubbling with joy.
“I’m hungry.  Let’s eat!”, the child yells.
Old Mother Plucker turned loose her hen.
“Tonight, we have Taco Bell!”

After that day, Mother Plucker refrained
From treating her “pets” as prey.
One lucky chicken opened her eyes:
“God works in mysterious ways.”

© Copyright 2009 Xander Riley
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