The Halal butcher

As my chickens get beyond laying age, I’ve been giving them to my Ethiopian friend who is willing to slaughter them for fresh meat. But today I decided to try something different. I took my two oldest hens deep into industrial Oakland to the live poultry Halal butcher shop, where for $5 each, they quickly slaughtered, cleaned and plucked my hens, returning them head, feet and all in about 10 minutes.

shopThe shop itself (at least the part I saw), is a big garage with pens of chickens, geese, pigeons, quail and ducks waiting for their end. Fortunately, the fowl seemed unaware of their status, and ate their feed happily enough. The menu listed rabbit, pheasant,veal, lamb and goat, but I didn’t see any.

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While I waited, a young man from a Chinese grocery store drove up to by some quail and chickens, and a curious pigeon dropped in to eat some scattered feed, but had the sense to fly off after his snack.

The pigeon reminded me of the title poem of my current poetry ms.

What Birds Know

Always our animal companions
exist at our pleasure—
the fattened hog
roasting on the spit,
the shorn sheep in the field.

Chickens thrive on grain
we spread for them.
The birds of the air
observe
and steer clear.

2 thoughts on “The Halal butcher

  1. Came across a David Ray poem about chickens:

    MENAGE A TROIS

    Such intimacy – the horny rooster
    named Albert,
    direct descendent of the Fabergé
    rooster I saw in the museum,
    watches after his two co-
    wives, Henny and Marigold,
    and in this four-acre world
    they peck away all day
    and are back in their shed
    by dusk, cuddled together
    on a corner shelf above a carpet
    of dried mottled droppings.
    I tuck them in for their night
    of pure innocent bliss, taking
    two eggs as pay for my servitude.

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