My First Time

I killed Starshine. I slit her throat.

I held her a long time before that, feeling the pulse at her throat, the warmth of her body, the movement of her breathing. Chickens can sit very calm if you hold them the right way - crouching over her, hand around her neck gently, fingers in the soft feathers of her belly.

Then upside down by the feet, similarly calm. Tied her up on the pear tree right above where my last treefrog was buried. Bright red blood dripping down through the decaying leaf litter. Phil held her wings as she convulsed in death, like a person violently vomiting, blood from a gash in the neck. I hope that she did not suffer; I fear that she did. Three times, deepening the cut. How terrible, how incompetent...

I was barefoot. My toes were painfully cold, I realized once the blood had stopped dripping and her eyes had closed. Sitting on a beach towel on the bathroom floor, drying my feet, I cried to myself, partly in pain, partly from nausea, and partly out of guilt and horror over what I had done. Maybe not long enough, but it was something. I didn't skin the body, though I helped pull some feathers out. I watched Phil do it and held the pan for the organs and meat.

Crouching there, with my knife to her throat, feeling her pulse with my hand - it was like standing on the edge of a high-dive, looking down at the water far below. We're all waiting for you. How could I do this? How could I let anyone else do this instead? But oh, it was far too easy to take that plunge. I'm sorry. And thank you.

I don't want to write about this anymore.

Midnight, Starshine, and Princess Buttercup in their early adolescent years. Year.


Anonymous said...

Fuck you, bitch face. I hope the chicken shit on you in hell fucker.

axcho said...

Thank you. I appreciate the intensity and anger with which you write. I feel much the same way myself.

It's easy to look at this casually, dismissively, mockingly - "Why so sensitive?" But this is a stance of fear, of being afraid to look closely, and I much prefer an honest, heartfelt expression of wrath and pain to the mocking tone that cannot stand to look into the eyes of an animal to be slaughtered. Even a chicken. And I will say this now - chickens are beautiful. If this sentiment wasn't apparent to you throughout my entire blog post, perhaps you weren't paying attention.

It's also easy to forget, to let this fade away into memory, and buy another chicken from the store, eat it, without even remembering the gurgle of blood coughing up her throat, her body shuddering, her eyes closed, head limp. The feel of the knife blade against the toughness of her neck. Three times. Your comment is a timely reminder. I sincerely appreciate that.

Anyway, I'm lucky in that I don't have to go to hell to experience the joys of chicken manure. I can get as much as I want just by going into the backyard! :)

And it's an honor to meet someone who has never eaten chicken before, let alone contributed to the death of any pig or cow or sheep. If only I could be so pure and righteous... ;)

Kreeslak said...

We are born with the ability to "feel" life in beautiful farm animals.

We have to respect them more than consuming goods, but they are part of our life circle. You can respect and love them also while taking their lives properly.

Animals have the advantage to live day by day not like us who are eager about and afraid of tomorrow.

That Chicken didn't judge you, you did. And i'm sure you are guilty of nothing, but impressed about the feelings that streamed thought his veins to your head.

Gald to see your blog alive.

Ra said...

i raise chicken myself and have befriended them. the pain, anger, and guilt i felt made me realized one day one of us had to go and one had to stay. the one who left was to provide for the one who stayed. i have learned to believe in the study that chickens are descendants of t-rex. their suffer is a burden they carry for reigning over the lands. yet, inside me, my pet chickens still wonder. your writing was very powerful and intense. it brought silence in me. i began to reminisce about my childhood time with my pet chickens and the horrible moments their lives were taken. interestingly, because of this, i am currently in the work of a personal project game about this psychology.

axcho said...

Thank you. I am glad to know that my writing has resonated with you who have had a similar experience. Like you, I also have thought it could be a powerful source of inspiration for an interactive art piece, and I am very curious to see what you come up with.

Thanks for writing.

axcho said...

"Wow that chicken post was intense. Presuming that you killed Starshine for meat, given the extent to which it bothered you, why not just let her live and eat the eggs only?"

I did not in fact kill her for meat, though I did end up eating some of her, eventually. At the time I was living with my parents and they, along with the neighbors (Phil), decided to get chickens. At some point, Starshine stopped laying eggs, and began growing spurs and trying to crow. Against my wishes, my parents decided to liquidate their unproductive asset. Admittedly, she was mean and bossy, and everyone's least favorite, but still, to me she was a pet. So, I volunteered to do the deed. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt like the only one who could do it with sufficient respect and appreciation for her as an individual, let alone tell her apart from the others. Also, I eat meat, so I thought it would be important to know what I am inflicting on the world with my dietary choices.