Stripping the Carcass

Stripping meat from the leftover chicken turns
my stomach – separating sagging skin
from gristle; detaching spinal column
from shrivelled vertebrae and bleach-white
bone. But I was taught by my mother not to be
wasteful, as she was taught by hers. So it goes
on: generations of women with their hands in
chicken carcasses, dissecting, dismembering,
dissolving to make stock for soup. My grandmother,
who cared for mother…husband…children…all through
her life. My mother, who never sat still
for a moment – I watched her,
fussing through my childhood. There was
always something more important to do. So here I stand,
hands in this chicken, for the soup I will make.
My boys run screaming under my feet: it all feels
so trivial. Somehow, I’ve become
wife, mother, homemaker – despite all the years of
resistance. Was it inevitable? That I would stand
with my hands in the carcass, dissecting, dismembering,
dissolving into domesticity. A line of women
that ends with me.



Karan Chambers is a poet, English tutor and mum to three boys. She studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and is working on her first collection of poetry. Karan’s poetry has been previously published by The Mum Poem Press, The 6ress and The Winnow Magazine.