I wrote this poem as part of my degree. It's based on a horrific day's work one Christmas Eve in order to get enough money to get home. I was vegetarian at the time and I regret not sticking to it.
Eve of Christmas Eve. A dark drive down some
rockspotted track. We are silent. Killers.
With gloves from the farmer's wife we trudge
to a cold outbuilding, strip-lit and grey.
Machines and men turn in the shed next door.
Protests and filthy jokes from the doomed birds.
A lesson from the farmer. The upturned turkey
two days from celebration, yawning red
from the pause of his last interrupted sentence.
The floor darkening and the farmer's instructions
lost in our comprehension of christmas lunch.
With one smooth rip the bird is stripped to cook.
The room spins with sudden birds, headless and
warm against our rubber hands. We stamp our
feet to achieve circulation, kicking crimson feathers
in some grim pillow fight between our knees.
The sun not quite risen over the morning hill.
Our tea drunk quietly. Our lunch quieter still.