For more chickens than I can count, I tried to make sense of things. And stuff too. Like jamming canned, colored dough through a pasta press. Almost everything looks better when flattened and cut with uniform lines. But the two birds in the bush cackled and the one in my hand? Gone. I was grasping nothing. Maybe at straws of such exquisite wavelengths they slipped undetected between my cones and rods. The clocks ticked asynchronously. Microwave trays performed their slouched turns toward Bethlehem. And none of it amounting to a hill of ancient grains. Now, in the ungodly quiet of the midday, you can hear the permafrost cracking. The barely dried-again scabs on your neck begging your chewed nails not to scratch at the polystyrene tickle in your throat.