He stalks the dark before dawn,
hackles up, a surly chanticleer
with a raised blade, black
tail feathers flicking back and forth.
A fit clenches him whole,
strains his red-combed head
into one shrill remonstrance
that scythes clean through
night’s manifold silence.
An ear bleeds in the courtyard.
Morning now rent,
the sun hangs low by a wire,
a naked bulb bearing down on this day
the full weight of tendered debt:
I never knew him.
The rooster glints green;
his round eyes dart;
he scratches and stabs the dust
for seed at the foot of a tree.