I have just sent a chicken to its death. Myers came up to the window and held it up for inspection. Even upside down, struggling to free its wings, it looked right at me with its beady, unblinking eyes. Everyone in the house looked at me, actually, as if I was supposed to say "yes" or "no," as if we hadn't already agreed that we would eat chicken today and it was up to me to say whether the thing would live or die.
When I lived in New York and ate factory-farmed, antibiotic-pummeled birds, I didn't think twice about this, and I'm a yoga teacher -- we're supposed to be vegetarians. Now that I can look the scrawny, stupid thing in the eyes and watch it peck around for ants in the crabgrass, I start to wonder if it fears death or experiences acute anxiety in its last seconds of life. In a country that does not grow carrots or cauliflower, this sudden empathy for fowl is inconvenient.
I am posting before-and-after photos of the said bird, which I preferred alive. I'm planning a trip next week to Red Light, the largest market in Monrovia and the only place they sell baby chicks. I want to make amends to the thinning flock of chickens in our yard. And who knows? Next week I might get hungry.