A Note on Disassembling

The house wolf, seeing his chance,
Escaped through the back door left
Ajar by a visitor, and ran down the
Road, and found a yard of chickens,
And leapt the fence, and killed five
Before a small shrieking man made
Him stop. The feathers drifted over
The road and were stirred into little
Dervishes by passing cars. I pay for
The chickens. When young the dog
Survived miraculously in the forest
For perhaps a year. He’s the deftest
Quickest most efficient assassin you
Ever saw. What saved him is now a
Crime. What was good is bad. Very
Often this is the case. The reverse is
True also, supposedly. Several wars
Are called good, or just. But in each
Of those wars, children of every age
Were disassembled all day each day.
Was that good or bad? If it was bad,
Why do we allow it? If it is good, to
Permit bad to happen, why don’t we
Enjoy and celebrate it? They’re only
Chickens. Hey, we disassemble kids
All day every day around the planet,
Why make such a fuss about twenty
In Newtown or nine in Afghanistan?
It’s all relative. Pay the fees and let’s
Just move along. Ignore the feathers.

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland, and the author, most recently, of a novella, Cat’s Foot.


  1. A chilling piece that should make all of us stop and think. And stop ignoring the feathers.

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