Mar/Apr 2018 • Vol. XL No. 2 Fiction |

Chickens, 2019

Just before Smith, that turncoat of an Agricultural Extension agent, showed up on my farm with the rest of them, Jerry and I stuffed my chickens into wax-covered produce boxes and threw them in the back of the truck. I had just shy of a dozen hens, plus Hitchcock, the rooster. We covered them with insulated blankets to keep the noise down, and we played it real cool while Smith and the other agents searched the place. Extension used to be all advice and suggestion, but they're armed now, the agents, so now it's more like monitoring and enforcement. "I know you still have those birds, Gracie," Smith said, the toe of his boot kicking open a fresh piece of chicken shit. "I've never known you without chickens. Why not just cooperate?" Smith looked awful smug for a guy who had soaked through the armpits of his shirt. I swear I couldn't believe, right then, that I'd ever shared his bed. Last month Congress banned outdoor poultry flocks on account of the bird flu, made keeping chic

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Claire Boyles
Claire Boyles is an MFA candidate at Colorado State University. Her work has appeared in the Masters Review and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and she is the recipient of a scholarship from Bread Loaf Orion. She raises kids and teaches middle school in Loveland, Colorado.

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