text mode CrossConnect previous next

Issue Contents
E-mail Us
   f o d d e r

--- B A R B A R A   T R A N

	Some people torture animals.
	Some boys squash bugs. 
	Some salt snails. Some boys 

swing kittens into walls by their tails. It's more palatable to some

to think of boys, but we all know girls do it too. Not only

children fire metal pellets into the soft pelts of squirrels - not for

the buttery meal their brains, it's said, make, not for any monetary value.

Even the soft- hearted of us can stomach it, with our eyes

open, our mouths salivating, full awareness we're consuming flesh: a pig's barbecued

rib, a goose's sautéed liver, a whole snapper. We all know how they die: beaks razored off, necks

buzzed open, blood drained from corn- colored flesh, gizzards wrapped in plastic and stuffed back

in their bodies -- chickens die by our hand. But those we don't eat, those we keep

in a tank, in a cage, napping on the couch, we like to see stroked, cooed to, treated

to a biscuit, some catnip, a pinch of brine shrimp. We note the knots in a stray's fur, ribs protruding

like a charcoal rubbing, the cat's tail curtailed. It makes us swear sometimes under our breath, sometimes mutter

over it. It depends. Our thresholds vary. Some of us have already sworn off all kinds of meat. Some of us

have got a step closer, turning away any product of another's labor: cheese from a cow's

goat's, sheep's milk, the chicken's egg, honey harvested

from the hardworking bee. So sweet on the tongue, I cannot draw the line

before this. I give myself more leeway. The line keeps moving. The woman's

hand bears the grit of the floor tile from her face. Her goose- flesh arm: her pillow. Her tousled, thick-

corded hair: her shield from our eyes' glare. Somewhere between Gates 407 and 420. I didn't stop

to verify, I had a bus to catch. I did stop to verify, I had a poem to write.

© crossconnect, inc 1995-2004 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |