Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

When Dinner Bleeds

by Rebecca Chamaa

My dad wanted us to be tough.
For discipline he used a thick leather belt
and lots of Goddamns. 
He wanted us kids to know how life worked
at least the way he saw it
all greasy, hostile and with women
who were mostly nothing but tits and ass.
He took my brother, Andrew, and me
out behind the house near the field
with one of our chickens.
We were eating peanut butter and grape jelly
He made us watch while he grabbed that chicken
by the neck and started to whip it around
like preparing his arm for a baseball game.
He put the head and neck of that big white bird 
on an old wooden stump, picked up an axe
and with one quick swing severed the head.
Then he let go.  
The body of that chicken ran around in front of us
like a top spinning and spurting blood 
for what seemed like forever.
My brother and I never ate chicken again
and our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
were half eaten and left behind in the dirt.


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Rebecca Chamaa

is working towards an MFA in poetry at UC Riverside. Her work has been published in Pearl, A Year in Ink, San Diego Poetry Annual 2014, and the upcoming issue of City Works. She lives in San Diego with her husband of sixteen years.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury