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Seeing Grandma
Gene Fehler

Grandma chased chickens,
hatchet in hand,
dragged one squawking
to the chopping block —
Grandma, who never
raised her voice in anger,
who made me soft warm
peanut butter cookies,
who played Christmas carols
and Chopin on her piano,
who read me to sleep with
The Little Engine That Could
and Three Billy Goats Gruff
whenever I spent the night.
I never watched her face
when she killed a chicken,
saw only her hand around its neck,
saw the two rusty nails
on a red-stained wooden block.
Even then I knew enough to save
her face for memories of cookies
and Christmas carols, Chopin
and favorite stories, for the soft bed
where she bathed me with smiles
as her soothing voice
sent me sweetly toward dreams
that had no chickens.
This poem appeared previously in Horizons, Bellowing Ark, Let the Poems Begin, and A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry (2005).
Used here with the author’s permission.


 Gene Fehler (1940 - 2013) published more than eighteen hundred poems, stories and articles—many of them about baseball. A book collector and avid sportsman, Gene grew up in Illinois and taught English and creative writing for nearly 30 years. In retirement, he moved to South Carolina, where he continued teaching in writing workshops and serving as a poet/writing-in-residence.



Post New Comment:
Delightful/ My Gram taught me the Bible.
Posted 06/20/2012 04:50 PM
Gilbert Allen:
A gentle reminder that the world allows us to be gentle only to a certain degree. Food for thought indeed.
Posted 06/18/2012 10:43 AM
My mother couldn't eat chicken after she went to her grandmother's house and witnessed the "preparation" of the supper. That feeling is very well captured in this fine poem! Love it!
Posted 06/18/2012 08:37 AM
Wilda Morris:
My grandmother slaughtered her own chickens, too. How well I remember!
Posted 06/18/2012 07:49 AM
Genuinely fine work--with all the sentiment and restraint I've come to admire in Gene Fehler's work.
Posted 06/18/2012 06:57 AM

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