One Poem by Lizzie Ballagher

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

A Rare Breed – Plymouth Rock Rooster

After The Appraisal by Grant Wood

               She’d sent word that she would come to buy
the best Plymouth Rock rooster on my papa’s farm.
Yet somehow, when her driver opened their Cadillac’s
bright door, and she in her furs in the fall sunlight stepped out
with her fancy alligator shoes, buckles gleaming,
embroidered clutch tucked underneath her arm,
I guessed her business had little enough to do with chickens:
maybe she’d gotten word her son and I were sweethearts.

               She’ll fight any match with another farmer’s daughter,
Sam had warned me, unless the farm we hold is land
well plowed and fit for raising golden Iowa corn, fit to breed
more Iowa golden money for those fancy shoes and purses…

               So I clasped our rooster like a child. Out-stared
her stony glares until at last she looked at Chanticleer
and chucked him under the wattles, smiled,
clucked back at him: You’ll do just fine and dandy.

               Our Plymouth Rock rooster had sealed the deal
and now she’d let her Samuel come a-courtin’ me.
What she didn’t know on that fall day (but surely would
before too long) was that the deal was oh so long done—
for I carried not only the handsome Chanticleer
but also, curled within my body, her own grandson.
And I’m no chicken! Yup, I looked her straight back
in the eye, glare for stare: my love for Samuel

               just as solid, just as long to last as that ol’ granite
Plymouth Rock—away out east—in Massachusetts.


Lizzie Ballagher has just finished her first full collection of poetry. Her work has been featured in a variety of magazines and webzines, including Nine Muses Poetry, Words for the Wild, Nitrogen House, South-East Walker Magazine, Poetry Space, the National Poetry Day site, and The Ekphrastic Review.  She blogs at:

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