Stoop

It’s noon— You hold
in your hand a golden apple
or blood orange, benign
yellow sickle of a banana.

You peel ruffled fronds off
a head of lettuce and slice
an heirloom tomato into
irregular rounds. The thick-

slab bacon you’ve crisped
to go into your sandwich
has traveled from the belly
of an animal you did not see

hang from a hook with others
on a conveyor belt. Neither
did you see who slit it
down the middle, fanned

its insides open like pages
of a book, hosed it down
with water from a long,
dark hose. Someone

had to clean the blood
off the abattoir floor, yes?
Someone had to pick dark
olives off the trees, press

their bodies to a pulp to render
their oil. Nothing you do on a regular
basis compares to what it takes to bring
you such convenience. When next you stoop

to tie a shoelace, imagine hours bent
to the ground like this, every day for months
and years. Imagine nothing else except
the labors no one else wants to do.

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