The Killing Floor is Slick
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).