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THE GIFT OF THE COW

Her blood runs down the paper
as I unwrap the thawed steaks
from the freezer, a gift
from a neighbor whose fellow
parishioner, a dairyman, knew
the needs of his land-locked countrymen
in town.  Immediately
 
I identify with her, who gave
at the office her milk, her offspring
and ended up like this, butchered
cut and wrapped, one final sacrifice
for beings who hardly know her
existence.  It’s dangerous
 
to go around empathizing
with the dead, and yet
it gives me pleasure on this night
when I have snuffed ants
without remorse and simultaneously wondered
whether my milk would have been good
enough to raise a family, now
a moot point.  So here
 
she is, the heroine
of this short story and I amend
Wendell’s words
 
“may I be worthy of my meat”
to
 
may I be worthy of hers.

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