They changed Henny Penny’s gait
from a fussy Victorian shuffle
to a hip-slung cowboy stride.
They traded her feathered bustle-bum
for a long prosthetic tail
and bred her sensible Baba Yaga feet
into a weighted set of claws
with a wicked spur behind.
No more delicate grasping at the night perch:
the night is now for stalking.
The hands of her creators
took her delicate beak and in its place
shaped a snout suited for death-rolls
and sudden lunges.
Henny Penny has not yet learned
to grow back the teeth of her ancestors
but when she does, oh, when she does,
she knows exactly where to strike.
One of a series of poems, inspired by fake B-movie titles that were in turn generated by an algorithm to promote a Wellington Improvisation Troupe show in 2016. How could I resist publishing a sinister poem about chickens?