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How Lola Became a Vegetarian 


Milton Ehrlich

She grew up under the shadow
of El Pollo Loco in Petaluma, Ca.—
a life that revolved around chickens.

As a toddler she used to help Mother feed the flock—
she clucked like a chicken,
and chased after them as if they were friends.
Lola loved these fat birds who couldn’t fly.


The ghost of a chicken marinated in lime
warns the whole flock to run for their lives!
But like Jews in Europe in the 1930’s,
most of them stayed behind— rumors they heard,
was not to be believed.


Father hypnotized a capon, rooster and an egg-laying hen,
a technique he learned on his father’s farm in Jalisco.
Lola believed Father had magical power and wouldn’t hurt her friends.


When she got a little older, she watched Mother wring their necks
and witnessed how they ran around without their heads,
leaving a hemorrhaging rain of blood before collapsing in heaps—
and afterward, have their feathers plucked—one by one.


When Lola asked if that is the same chicken
we eat in our restaurant—Mother nodded affirmatively,
and she became a vegetarian overnight.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 87-year old psychologist who has published many poems in periodicals such as: the Toronto Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, Mobius, The Chiron Review, Samsara, Blue Collar Review, Allegro Poetry Review, Naugatauk River Review, Taj Mahal Review, Poetica Magazine, Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.

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