When I think of vulnerability, I think of cattle cornered
in the back field.
Horns framed between trees, the smell of sap and shit
heavy in the heat. Jaws pausing, tails still flicking the flies.
The .30-.06 fires and the brindle bull drops,
We stab and slice and pull—
The sound that intestines make when they leave the body,
The neck twisted to fit into the sled.
When I think of God I think of touching the lungs, lying in the dirt,
hot and soft in the sun
like molten marshmallows.
Carcass strung up with hooks through hocks, flies settling inside the cavity.
When I think of necessity, I think of the separation between skin and flesh, cutting white strands
with a dull knife. The feeling between muscle and fat.
The sound of the chainsaw through the neck, the head
Separated and small.
When I think of life I think of packing the body into the truck bed, covering with a tarp and
drenching with a hose, cold enough to make it to the butcher without spoiling.
I think of stepping out of jeans dry and stiffened by mud, sweat, and creek water and into the
shower, skin turning pink under water as hot as I can withstand, sediment left on the bottom of
When I think of you I think of garlic sizzling in oil, the placing of the meat in the middle of the
skillet and the way we smile over dinner and salt and pepper, knowing that love holds
something violent in its sustenance.