THE CHICKEN SLAUGHTERHOUSE OF DOBSON
O holy cow of the Blue Ridge
sweetly churn your new mown hay
as I speed by eighty with an eye on
the virgin dew another scanning for
the patrol car a ritual to keep us safe
and American as pie a la mode
the piney woods line the road
to Dobson where I teach
the college and the highest structure
on campus the water tower painted
light blue with large block letters
spell out D-O-B-S-O-N if town
smells polluted like toxic chicken
shit it’s ok getting here before
the poultry trucks begin their eerie
hell-bent apostasies if it’s Monday
I may find time to scribble a brief
poem or two before I have to lecture
the ins and outs of schizophrenia
today NPR interviews a man
with both legs blown off in Iraq
working fulltime in California
sounds sane, braver than I can imagine.
Author’s Comment: I began working on this poem several years ago while I was teaching nursing at Surry Community College in Dobson, North Carolina. The poem reflects my interest and concern for the contemporary landscape and its effects on human awareness and behavior. I believe that all human beings are engaged in a daily struggle to survive and to develop and that struggle connects us in many ways. As in much of my poetry, this poem feels like an opportunity for both self growth and the encouragement of growth (hopefully) in its readers.
Bio: Aaron Poller currently works as a psychotherapist in Winston-Salem and teaches Mental Health Nursing at Winston-Salem State University. He has been writing since the 1960’s when he studied poetry with Robert Mezey, Jean Garrigue and Daniel Hoffman. He is hoping to publish a book or chapbook of his work in the future and has recently had poems published or accepted for publication in Barnwood Poetry Magazine, Eunoia Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Cherry Blossom Review, Poetry Quarterly, Poetic Medicine and The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine.
What a wonderful, surprising poem–the water tower as the highest structure will stay with me a good long while.
Dear Ms. Steele,
Thanks for your welcoming response to this poem….much appreciated!