"That Chicken Wallpaper" A Poem from "The Blue Farm"
"The poems in Brenda Serotte’s The Blue Farm range across a wide and vivid landscape of loves and cultures, losses and revelations. Each of these probing, honest poems is informed by a profound sense of history, of family, of culture. They have been gathered here into a collection that truly feels larger than the sum of its parts, as each poem resonates against its companions to form a self-portrait of a rich and varied life, drawn by a woman of gracious individuality." --Michael Hettich, author of Flock and Shadow: New and Selected Poems (New Rivers Press, 2005), and Swimmer Dreams (Turning Point, 2005).
THAT CHICKEN WALLPAPER
Once, during a blizzard, you walked 16 blocks to buy a coffee pot because ours broke, an electric percolator we used then, drank cup after black cup as we papered our new kitchen with bright chickens, a hundred thousand chickens, pink and orange yet, what were we thinking? "It's so not you!" said friends, but I thought, yes it is me: chickens, eggs, farmhouses, the Family Walton, all that went with Woodstock, Vietnam, Mothers-Against-the-War, friends picketing the Pentagon. Our daughter confessed those chickens humiliated her, Ma, how could you? She hated bringing anyone home, diverted them from seeing our kitchen. I still like them, think back fondly to when chickens ruled, surrounding us on snow days with the kids home from school, making new coffee and fresh love. That wallpaper held up well, never even peeled. Until the day we moved, an army of purposeful chickens marched gaily, despite their outrageous uniforms, across our private walls which, under their clawed and muddy feet, had begun to crumble.