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by Tyree Daye

chicken has carried us along
away from death I mean
a chicken can go a long way
                                                             into the summer

bones becoming a winter soup
my aunt would take a few of her barred Rocks
and my uncle would bring his Rhode Island Reds

a cousin unthawed three pounds of chicken feet the day before
from granddaddy’s deep blue freezer
green peppers chopped in half like a genie inside

& when you know how to get to the heart of your hunger
you can feed a whole town
when you like feet and necks in your rice

when mama taught you how to clean a knuckle
because she doesn’t want your bones to show

you can do           ungodly things to animals

“Recipe” was written during the pandemic in a poetry group hosted by my poetry professors, Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar. The town created in a little bump in the earth mirrors the small Black community I was born into, where one home would support another, and that one, another, so our survival was linked. “Recipe,” like the poem “what the angels eat,” makes beautiful in Black hands what has been deemed not, has been deemed shameful, art-less. The poem comments on the acts/rituals of those living in poverty and so much love and the sometimes terror and love in that ritual.

On the level of craft, I am interested in the use of caesura as it is closer to representing how I receive and discern language; that space/breath is a moment when my mind and heart meet, where the effects of poetic language happen, what my body most enjoys.

Tyree Daye was raised in Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the author of the poetry collections a little bump in the earth (Copper Canyon Press, 2024); Cardinal; and River Hymns, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. A Cave Canem fellow, a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, and recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, he was the 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received an Amy Clampitt Residency. Daye is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.