|This is not a good color for a naked chicken.|
(This image is ©Nancy Banks,
and can't be used without her written consent.)
Previously on this blog, Floyd the chicken, wounded and risking cannibalism if she stayed with the other chickens, took up residence in a temporary shelter, where she was plucked alive by a dog no one liked. Alas, her travails are not yet over.
The next morning when I checked on her,
her skin was green.
I had invested a lot of effort in saving her life,
and she repaid me by getting gangrene.
Treating gangrene was far beyond my poultry medical skills.
I couldn’t just let her suffer horribly and die slowly,
which meant I’d have to kill her,
after all that we'd been through
(You have to understand
I'm terrible at killing things.
Me putting something out of its misery
involves much misery on both sides,
does not actually qualify as
stopping the misery.)
Before I put Floyd's head on the block, though,
I called the vet as a last resort.
I got the vet assistant on the line
and told her the whole story.
in her I’ve heard it all, and chickens with gangrene do not
disturb my calm professionalism voice,
“let me ask the doctor,” and she put me on hold,
with nary even a giggle.
I was on hold for a very long time—
for her to repeat the story,
for the vet to collapse in gales of laughter,
and for him to call in all his colleagues
and have her retell the story for them while they all howled with laughter.
We are talking about a chicken here.
Something you're supposed to eat, not nurse back to health from a state of
When the assistant got back on the line,
her voice was remarkable steady as she
that perhaps Floyd's skin was green from bruising.
I've never received a doctor's diagnosis
with a greater sense of relief.
Floyd should have been doubly relieved,
but she was a chicken, and she took each thing as it came,
and full-body bruising.