Imagine eating a bowl of hot soup in the heavy awfulness of summer. Think about tiny spikes of sweat stabbing through your forehead over the bowl, how the rising steam softens the skin on your face. I look out the kitchen window now, in winter, and I can’t picture lighting a fire and charring meat over an open flame out there. Halfway to a cold, wearing my full thermal underwear, I can’t even see the grill through the window, steamed over with the chicken soup that’s been boiling away for three hours. It’s out there somewhere in the dark, lid frozen to its drum, four inches of snow turned ice on top.
Pulling chicken flesh from its body is the truest act of this season. I shred the white meat of the breast between my fingers into thin strands, keep the dark red of the legs in bigger pieces. Their fat will pop in my mouth once all this rotating liquid becomes soup. I’ve washed my hands, but they’re still sticky from the bones and the cartilage, the dark and spongy edges of the animal that have softened to something like wet leather. This is winter.