Kathryn Smith

Waste & Want



These chickens are easy

to forget. They peck

the feeder clean.

I’ve tried so many ways

to save things. Children

starve as I clear

the refrigerator of near-spoil.

Something about chicken feed

makes me uneasy: efficient

little pellets, extruded, consistent,

complete. The cat bats

flies puzzling the window,

does not eat them.

Hens have a habit

of pecking through grains

to get what they want.

The cat wants the kill.

I want these shelves

so stark they shine.


KATHYRN SMITH is the author of Book of Exodus (Scablands Books, 2017). Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Duende, The Boiler Journal, Redivider, Laurel Review and The Collagist. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Eastern Washington University and the recipient of a grant from the Spokane Arts Fund. Find her online at kathrynsmithpoetry.com.