“Cows Escape Slaughterhouse, Stampede Through California Neighborhood” by Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting


Well, who hasn’t dreamt
of busting the barn door
down, shoving
the iron gate wide,
dust kicking up faces
of whatever beast
presumed itself ruler
of you, decider
with a rope and knife,
buzz saw gleaming
sharp and round
in the eye of its killing hand.
It’s easy to forget
the suffering of others
when the meat’s so juicy
and fresh, which
I’m sure wasn’t
my father’s intention
when he stuck his fork
in our plates without asking,
his fist
through my bathroom door
when, disgusted, I fled
the table of family feasting.
Blood should beat free
and warm through
the feet of creatures
clacking down streets
of their sunnier mornings,
something green
and granular still sweet
in their cuspated
teeth—a cool drink lapped
from faucets along
the lushest way. How
isn’t breath a gift
we’re born to relish?
And at night, where
a slow drift of stars
drizzles honey for children
to doze to, how
about the open dream
of witchery enough
for leaping moons
clean over—
away from death—
just as fast and far
as your slender legs can.

from Poets Respond
June 27, 2021


Michelle Bitting: “Breaking news: I’m on their side …” (web)

Rattle Logo