Boys

by Vanessa Lampert

Last June my sister released a young cockerel
in the university arboretum
after it revealed its gender, crowing

experimentally in a hoarse voice.
Her husband used to wring the necks of the cocks
while listening to hip-hop but he left.

Now I’m at the garage filling up with petrol
and pinned to the counter is a mugshot
of a cockerel, blown-up A4.

Its prehistoric face peers out, red wattles,
a comb styled to the left like Elvis’s
and a cravat of fine gold satin feathers.

Underneath it says is this your cock?
I take a picture, WhatsApp my sister
your bird? Second chance? She replies no fucking way,

promiscuous creatures that upset the neighbours
and tear members of their family to pieces.
I’ve enough of that on my plate with the boys.