Chickens in Chinatown

Avant, en. En arrière.

They look
Like jaundiced ballerinas,
Stretched out
Along a long chrome barre.

Heads back,
Necks curved;
Proper posture,
By the pound.

Strict technique:
Up-right, then oblique.
Eyes closed;
Beaks aimed high.

Each pose,
Each tilt,
“So nice.”

À la seconde.
À la quatrième.
À terre.

Avant, en.
En arrière.
Big steps, here;
Small ones, there.

Eight jaundiced ballerinas,
Warming up their act.
Until the Master Cook arrives,
To take his fixings back.

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