numinousmagazine

Kristen McHenry

In Issue 5 on March 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Slaughtering Season

In pig days, there is a fierce heat
slung low even where the moon bears down.
In pig days they say “exsanguination”, a ridding
of the red, root word sanguis: blood
offering. They sound the thought carotid.

In pig days when thirsty we all lay down.
We dream in mud and blunder, we’re
intimate with the tenor of our shrieks.
In pigs days, we are meticulously
counted and divided by our thickness.

There is no vanity in this, it’s a question
only of quality and mass. In pig days,
we watch as we are felled: the first
sleep comes with the wet-rattle shock.
They sound the thought humane.

Upon our draining (they sound the thought
hygienic), we witness each our kin
stream forth in ecstasy, their cells exploding
in a humid rain. We are rapt with anesthetic
reverence.Their force is made elixir, meted out

to those who crave our properties.
Then the roaring torch, the last of our bristles, heads
appropriately scrapped. Then the cleave. Two halves.
The viscera separated. Like upon first birth
when we sound the thought, divided.

In Defense of Gentleness

Those who move
among us in frailty, those
who are broken
by their first
suffering, those
who cannot swim,
who will not take
their share, those
who balk at the confounding
wisdom of violence, of the
bloodlust force required
to muscle into the world, to merely
live upright,
are the ones
we come to in the end, begging
for gentleness, for proof
of mercy, however tenuous. All along,
they have guarded
the power of our fragility, like a sword
we are yet untrained to wield. All along,
they have known, and suffered for it. They
have held up
love like the world itself, thin
arms straining to contain its lightness. They are
in the end the most resilient,
the way the soft
bones of a willow
triumph
by deferring to the storm:
Shaking loose their sorrow.
Allowing, allowing, allowing.

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