Always, the women get their hands dirty

Who’s afraid of blood? Not me,
I say to the women stuffing gut

casings with minced pork, with onions,
with congealed pork blood, with peppers,

with vinegar, with salt. Their nail beds
are dark from the work they do: muralists

of blood, they plunge whole hands into
basins of glistening meat, lifting

and pinching, packing, tamping,
twisting. They’ll hang them up to dry

then smoke them darkly— whole rosaries
herbed with fat. Roasted, the first slice

goes to the hidden gods: the ones whose thirst
we’ll carefully slake with drops of water

or wine shaken onto the ground, the ones
who speak in riddles and only through toothless

mediums; the ones who never deign to tell us anything
about that future whose smell we already know.

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