This poem was submitted by Jen Fitzgerald as part of the 2015 World Voices Online Anthology.

Jen Fitzgerald’s event: Who We Talk About When We Talk About Translation: Women’s Voices.

Captive bolt pistol hacks, hisses,
          heaves cow to the floor.
                      Hook the hooves—invert bodies;

suits on a dry cleaner’s
           motorized line. Purple veins
                       scarlet muscle. A single

slice, skin folds back
            like theatre curtains. Parse
                       mammoth down to salable

in minutes. Whir of buzz saw, clack
            of cleaver. Move fatal air
                        through piston, a gear’s precision;

a machine, you are—single file
            death march, zapped
                        forward by arcs of electricity.

Lost count now, thought it foolish
            to keep tally after 20 years.
                        Men never talk about wide

bovine eyes drifting through dreams,
            flashing past tender moments
                         when your little one flits her lashes

against yours. Time trudges,
            Novocaine dripped through a dull
                         syringe, numbing nothing.

This poem is excerpted from Jen Fitzgerald’s forthcoming collection of poetry The Art of Work, Noemi Press (2016).