Oh ruminants that docile stand
on pasture-land and long green meadow,

when I think of how you lower your heads
through the day to the sweet nuzzle of grass

and how you wear a halter of sunlight mostly
loosely across your backs, I give pause

which I want to think of as a kind of thanks
before I turn my hand or mouth toward the tasks

of domestic transformation. Someone else
has rendered skin and gristle and bone, taken

abstractions of flesh: marbled slabs and glistening
circles that mean a form of sustenance, in other

instances a surplus of meanings beyond food—
The waiter in the chophouse recites the many

different virtues of Kobe beef as if it were
an epic poem, and the impeccably dressed diners

look slightly flushed, as if they were in
the presence of a holy object— They lean

in to inspect the thin filet. But we
are closer than they could imagine, chain

after chain linked in a web going around the world:
water where fish leap and shining insects hover,

smaller creatures that flatten their ears, attentive
to the vocation of predators in field and sky.

Block after block of homes, in each a pretty kitchen
with appliances humming to themselves in the dark;

and copper-clad pots and metal implements bright
as the day they were bought, knowing nothing yet

except water and soap: knowing nothing yet of how
the largest basin is wide enough to catch the major

organs lifted out of the cavity: heart, liver, spleen;
sweetbreads bathed in blood like ink that stains the fingers.


In response to Via Negativa: Gated community.

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