Green Hills Literary Lantern






My stepfather would hold each diseased

chicken by its throat and use a wooden

applicator to smear some kind of a black

tar over each one’s anus so that the  other

chickens in the coop would not peck it to death.


I always tightly gripped  a small board

to lift the chickens from their roosts

so that they couldn’t peck my hand

when I went to collect their eggs.


At night, flashlight in hand, a grim- faced

kid, I  sometimes entered the chicken coop

and rats, perhaps twenty or thirty of them,

(they ate the spilled uneaten corn) would

instantly scatter noisily into the protection

of their secretive holes.





Joseph Buehler has published 60 poems, in ArLiJo, Sentinel Literary Quarterly in the U.K., Serving House Journal, Futures Trading, The Write Room, The Tower Journal and elsewhere.  He is retired and lives in Georgia with his wife Trish.