The break chair is in the alley by the back door. I used to sit here and vape. Even that small pleasure has been taken from me. Flies hover like vultures above the dumpsters stuffed with chicken scraps—gizzards, livers, bones, and skins. On my lap is this monstrous head with white plastic eyes under a red felt crest, three inches high. Its beak yellow like yolks eyeing me from a hot skillet. I swelter inside deep feathers reeking of burnt grease. Sour odor clings to my skin like a stranger’s cum.
“Back out front,” the boss hollers from inside.
How did I end up with my baby at mama’s and another on the way?
Step, step, step, cluck, turn. Step, step, step, cluck, turn.
Chella Courington (she/they) is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including X-R-A-Y Magazine, New World Writing, and The Daily Drunk. A Pushcart and Best Small Fictions Nominee, Courington was raised in the Appalachian south and now lives in California. Twitter @chellacouringto