The woman wipes
floury hands upon the thin floral
apron tied around a waist
still small enough
to turn an eye, the left hand
hooked like a bird’s claw, brushes
coiled red hair
away from eyes
faded as the sun hanging out to dry
above another day.
The man holds
the chook between fingers
hard as a dog's jaw; places
its stupid head
upon the wooden block
rusted deep with the fragility of life.
A sudden thunk, a headless gallop
and the head, startled
as a cheek slapped out of the blue,
is tossed aside for the dog.
The child sits
on a concrete step
so hard his bum whines, listens
to the kneading
of dough, the sound of his mother’s shoes
skating across the linoleum, watches
the half-moon axe
descend – he wants to move
inside and across to the man; is forever
trapped between the two.