The Slaughter


Image credit Nick Meyer. https://www.nickmeyerphoto.net/
After 5 years 
Fatima hugs
her sister Alma
under a gray sky.

The wind whips
Fatima’s kerchief back
forming a mask
that matches
Alma’s dull stare
into the browning
field all around.

Alma feels only
the roughness
of the green blanket
wrapping itself
around her,
sees the small farm
in the distance
with farmhands
loading cattle into
the slaughter car
and remembers
the heifer’s head
on the side table
amidst the
Christmas Day feast.

She is trying
not to remember
the blood
on the floor
and in the sink
this morning-

trying
to find the words
to tell Fatima
and finding none.

Only sadness and
the slaughtering
instruments neatly
placed on the table
fill her mind-

the breakfast egg
that filled her hand
for a full minute
before she cracked it
exposing the cooked white
she could not eat.

She closed her eyes
and thought she prayed
In the whirling dark
she was naked
under the waterfall
and Alma, also naked,
was waving her
to join her
on the wooden float
in the middle of the lake.
The Slaughter read by Jonathan Moya