Sunday Mornings

Late morning

mother made me

hold the rooster’s legs

as she hunched over

holding the wings

a horizontal slash across the neck

 

The blood poured

into a round ceramic bowl

muscles twitched

in death my hands

struggle for life

 

It was a necessity for

the ceremony

father would perform later

for grandmother

sick in bed

 

the feathers plucked

in warm water

the rooster sits on a plate

on a table, its throat open,

listening to my chanting father

 

The blood cooked

with the body,

now separated in sections

on a table

where father chants again

 

Edible

it becomes not my blood

feeds my flesh

while its spirit

belongs to the demons, my ancestors

 

My friends ask

why I don’t go to church on Sundays

they don’t know I’m pagan

I don’t tell them

they wouldn’t care

 

We are too young

to understand religion

but we know about family

we know what matters

life and death and spirits

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