Once the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus)

And restricted to Laos and southern Cambodia,

When we noticed the chicken bore no malice,

We traded to farms in the West for some modia.

Now the hen’s plumage is mostly lackluster,

And the tail of the cock has lost all of its gold,

But both of their tempers are all they can muster,

And as a result are aggressive and bold.

As their sons in America continue to flourish,

And spread their loud crowing all through the land,

You must never forget all the birds that we nourished

To bring agriculture right into our hand.

I wonder, on farms, when the sunset has passed, if

The faded and bruised hens stare up at the stars

And wonder, when we have permission at last, if

Our ancestral acres could someday be ours?

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