Stories of Champions

Champion the turkey

Stories of Champions often begin with soft eyes.
Knowing the borders of barren bodies,
A late spring pasture,
Our first rite: the beasts born into slaughter
And a champion’s steady breath.

There are stories that begin in grief.
With the shovel’s blade heavy
Towards the compost heap in the back field.

And there are those that begin at the bottom.
Exhausted and broken, quiet—
A champion’s gasp alone in the clover.
Given the night she may survive.
She passes the night and a shovel’s blade,
Trampling and trembling down on death.

There are stories of nations.
Thanksgiving day begins in the grasses.
The impressive American Bronze,
A commodity of faiths, an offering for a family’s continuity.
The beast and always the blade, always sharp and stinging,
A fate from seed to flower to blood.
There are stories of feasts

But there are stories that begin with small, poor, enduring bodies,
Stories that surpass the blade’s end.
Full of weakness, filled with haste and push,
A belly always willing and fighting,
Shattering the gate, the stories of slaughter, grief and nations.
A sweet mangled turkey will go on as our champion.
Stories that often begin with soft eyes.

Featured image: Champion the turkey on her last day on the farm before going to Heartland Farm Sanctuary

Luke Hingtgen is a farmer at Blue Moon Community Farm and a graduate student in the Department of Rhetoric and Discourse at DePaul University. Recently, the bulk of his work is reflected in previous seasons co-managing small farms in the Hudson Valley and Wisconsin, while conducting research into new agrarian discourses, particularly in relation to conceptions of justice and sustainability in land management and labor. Additionally, he is researching farmers’ roles as collector and preserver of cultural and genetic diversity in seed banks and cuisines. Contact.

5 Responses

  1. Heather Rosenfeld says:

    Aaaaah this is the best. I love it so much. The tag is wrong though. Champion is not food, although she’s good at making small messes with food.

    A Champion Fan Club Member and Poop Shoveler

  2. Dana barre says:

    Thank you for this beautiful work, Luke, and for helping Champion find her way to us.

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