If you knife open a chicken

and lift from gray walls of rib

the innards, you’ll find

the heart, a wet stone.

And if you place it in your mouth,

you’ll taste the hen’s secret

cramped life, her feathers

and yellow-rimmed reptile eyes.

Wait, your tongue will remember—

the summer you turned thirteen

and fell in the woods,

before your torn bottom lip,

before your own blood,

the taste of dirt and the bitter leaves.


Laura Lee Beasley has a PhD in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Georgia State University where she worked as an assistant editor at Five Points: A Journal of Art & Literature and was the poetry editor for New South. She teaches in the First Year Writing Program at the University of West Georgia and has worked as a copy editor for St. Martin’s Press. Her poems have appeared in the Texas Observer, Silk Road Review, Apple Valley Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, among others. She was selected as a semi-finalist for Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and as a Special Merit winner in the Comstock Review’s Muriel Craft Bailey Contest, judged by Marge Piercy.