Northwest Schools of Literature: Texts

5. David Wagoner, "For a Woman Who Phoned Poetry Northwest Thinking It Was Poultry Northwest"

David Wagoner, Traveling Light Collected and New Poems. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

How can you give your chickens a quick molt?
Madam, no earthly and no heavenly knowledge
Is alien to poets or their organs
Of inspiration. Feed your whole flock lightly
For two full weeks. They’ll lose weight and forget
To lay more eggs. Next, feed them heavily
On rations lavishly rich in nitrogen.
They’ll molt then, and their new plumage will be
Beautifully close-bedded against winter.
Think of us out in the cold in our old feathers
As you scatter grain. We are sincerely yours.

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