I realize now how that must have sounded
when I sized up the best placement
for a bullet, behind the shoulder-blade
of the perfectly flanked television deer
that posed like some masochistic centerfold for carnivores.
I sounded cruel. And hungry.
And that’s how I justify my easy knowledge of killing,
that I am an unrepentant carnivore.
That push come to blood, I could be responsible
for my own meat. That a country girl can survive
at the cost of something else perishing.
Like any southern church-reared kid I know of dominion,
and like anyone from working class roots, understand
the hard, red comfort of being high enough on the food chain
to make meat. And that word is crucial,
the word meat as distancing and sanitizing
as white foam trays and cellophane. Yet
the real phrase is “kill to eat,” at least more honest.
Honesty, though, is not mercy
no matter how I bless my meal.
I think of this when I see you spare a creature
that will never feed you and may, if allowed, harm you.
Something so small, so inconsequential,
that you could be forgiven (if anyone even noticed)
for killing it. I don’t know how long it would take
for me to inhabit that kind of gentleness,
that kind of joining with another, however unrelated.
So from my seat made of hunger and bones,
I watch and try to learn.