Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cow Girl or Girl Cow

Sections 4 & 5 from my poem "The Five Course Meal" (1998)

The great uncle complains
that his rack is not supple and pink--a taste
more vulnerable, closer to the kill.
“I like to see some blood,” he tells the group.
The rest cringe, chewing undecidedly, and then decidedly
face their fears:
tangled fish scales for my incontinence,
a swollen shank for my pneumonia as a kid,
severed ribs for the woman who would not marry me,
innards and entrails for my fear of heights,
matted feathers for my mastectomy.


It happens every year: on barren oval platters
lie sickled bones, marble-balled
tallow, blue elastic veins,
scraps of skin encrusted. Holding
their hands to their stomachs,
they recount time lost in fear,
you deserved it
you deserved it
you deserved it.

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