The high priests of poetry glitter like silver toothpicks. Don’t think about where they’ve been: the closets, the lavatories, the confessionals. Don’t mistake their laughter for genuine mirth. I remember our free-range chickens, that so-called flock of birds too fat to fly, how the roosters crowed at awkward hours and how every morning the hens would announce their new-laid miracles to the world in keening monotones, the first one sparking the others like a parking lot after a minor earthquake — all the car alarms going off at once. I remember how brutally they enforced the pecking order. Some winter mornings we’d find half a hen in the hay; bug season couldn’t come quickly enough. To be fair, though, their cruel stupidity was inbred, and may have been triggered by paranoia: almost every week two more members of the flock went missing from the shit-caked roosts, until spring when a new crop of chicks appeared in the rat-proof pen in the middle of the coop. Broody hens and second-rank roosters heard that EEP EEP EEP EEP and got excited. They’d wander up to the pen, tilt their heads as if taking confession, and go AWWWWP.