Terrence Sykes: Preaching To the Chickens (fiction)
Southern Legitimacy Statement: I fear that my complete listing of southern legitimacy would crash the cosmos & petunias so I shall HENCEFORTHWITH condense –
I was born a coal miner’s son in the coal hollers of southwestern Virginia & as a child my family like many poor Appalachians migrated to many states in search of work – we returned and I started my education in a three room wooden school with outhouses and a well pump
I went off into the city Nashville to get my education and moved to suburban Washington DC where I call myself and Urban Hillbilly . I call myself a GASP – Gay Alcoholic Southern Poet and write poetry & flash fiction & take lots of photographs as I meander the creeks and river banks searching for wild greens – mushrooms – pawpaws & other treats to forage and be consumed with my vegetables grown from the fertile southern soil.
Preaching to the Chickens
Awakened in the darkest hour before the dawning … few stars littered the sky & the moon made little effort to shine behind a misty shroud of scattered clouds . My sleep t-shirt soaked to the bone & the windows already open into the hot humid southern summer air …searching like a spiderweb for any careless breeze. Staggering from the back porch …dazed from an unremembered dream .
Opening the henhouse door .. the naked twenty-five low bulb dangled above the unforgiving flock… still half asleep or others shifted restlessly … and I began preaching to the chicken with
an early Sunday morning sermon before church .. gathering eggs about & amongst clucking of affirmations of my words and flapping of wings to testify as they scratched for leftovers feed or a wayward bug that quickly met its fate.
Descending from their sleepy Jacob’s Ladder …. clucking old times hymns & assembling upon the the nesting pews as I told them that truly Jesus watched over his flock…feed & oyster shells that were cast before the hens and not swine… it rained down from above like manna from heaven and refreshed the water that quenched their thirst but would never turn to wine …nor would it in that little Southern Baptist church about a mile down the road … there it is known that Jesus turned wine into grape juice.
Hallelujahs & Amens rose like a heavenly choir as they laid eggs and I was seized with an revival epiphany of hell fire & damnation …as I told of how the Devil can reach out and clutch you anytime … no altar calls came so I decided to educated these wayward souls a Darwinian survival of the fittest scientific fact to back up the dangers of temptations & sin… that hen who hadn’t been laying the last few months … I snatched it up and rang its neck for Sunday dinner.