How to Fry a Chicken
Wash the damn thing.
You don’t know where it’s been.
Peel the skin for cholesterol’s sake
except one thigh, for yours.
Dry the pieces like babies.
This chicken gave its life for supper
and deserves reverence.
Cover with buttermilk for an hour,
chilled, unless you don’t like the look
of the glass bowl, in which case
use two tablespoons vinegar to two cups milk
instead. Remember, this is important.
Heat old-fashioned, artery-clogging Crisco
at 425°. Electric skillets, like lovers, are best.
Pour a cup of flour into a large baggie.
Add some paprika, salt, pepper, and a two-
fingered pinch of thyme. Wait,
the time is not yet.
Beat two eggs well with a slurp of water.
Dip chicken pieces in the flour, then in egg,
then flour again. Fry high ten minutes,
don’t crowd the pan. Turn and lower heat
to a sizzle, cover for fifteen more.
Do not touch the chicken or worry over it.
It is not a child. Make potatoes instead.
As in foreplay, the last five minutes are most
important., so turn up the heat and go for it.
Let chicken rest five minutes on a paper towel,
then serve on a platter for the slam-damn finest
chicken you’ll ever put a tooth to: legs, thighs, breasts
and all your favorite parts. Gravy requires
another poem. Come back later.
Sandra Soli's poems, flash fiction, and photography have appeared in more than sixty journals, most recently accepted by Burnt Bridge, Parody, Ruminate, and War, Literature, and the Arts. Recipient of the 2008 Oklahoma Book Award in poetry, Sandy enjoys collaborative projects with artists in multiple disciplines.