ONE POEM – Holly Conant

William Michael Harnett, Plucked Clean (1882)
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

The Chicken Bones


Last night they were alive again, flying through the air at break-bone speed, but they didn’t break. The plate somehow took the Gs, missed me, target, by a margin. We don’t talk about the plate, or the bones. The smell of them becomes a ghost in the room, a ghost that has seeped into my hair and skin and the fabric of my uniform. The smell becomes sour, ferments inside this house to the point where the roof-tiling is inflating, threatening to burst whilst a thick clag of grease is clinging to every object, every wall, every monster under the bed.


This morning the bones are gone. The windows are open. The carpet is clean. Come on lazy bones, you’ll be late for school. I go into the kitchen to get some cereal, see a chicken defrosting for tonight’s tea.

Holly is a mature student currently studying at the University of Leeds. She has work upcoming in a number of anthologies and presses over the year, including Anti-Heroin Chic and Dreich. Holly also had a poem featured on Ink, Sweat & Tears in January 2021.

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