The fear will make the meat grow closer don’t be scared

by Wayne Holloway-Smith

can’t   stop   thinking   –   of   all
the  things  we  didn’t  ask  for –
bad   ankles   the   beige  carpets
we’re   given   in   rented   rooms
–    brooms    knocking   against
the    floor   from  below   –  the
downstairs     neighbour      who
hates  me  – and  by  downstairs
neighbour  I   mean   my   soul –
I    mean    it    moves    around
shape   and   size   of   a used up
cow  –  it  gets  about  pointless
and   grazing   angry   –   bones
and     blood     and     absolute
udders  –  where  does  all  that
shuddering  lactose  go   –

Margot  I  recall  we  held  first
nose    to    snout    –    nostrils
syncopating   then   our   fore-
heads      touching      a     long
while –  Knock Knock  you said
who’s  there  I  asked  you were
three years old  and I  love you
interrupting cow

too  old  to  be  allowed  not  to
be  meat  –  when  we  met  her
Rosie   she   had   been   spared
by an animal sanctuary  –  first
the  stun  gun  then   the  knife
the  blood   singing   from   her
neck  –  we  all have a deliverer
this I think  was  mine Margot
I love you –

Rosie  was  allowed  to  live  –
in   this   place   we   found   a
miracle   –     the   downstairs
neighbour   had    a  broom  it
disappeared  –  a  hateful  pair
of  hands  with  nothing to do
–  by  which  I  mean my soul
was being reworked

one  day  the  sanctuary  took
eleven  orphaned  calves – the
way the body  produces  milk
is    that   birth   activates   its
shimmering         membranes
Knock Knock

there     have      been     many
moments   in  which  –   who’s
there – I asked and my life got
better    from     some     small
arrival  –  Rosie  having  never
given birth was meat  wasting
away –  stun   gun  they   said
cleaver  blood  on the apron –
she couldn’t hope  for natural
milk

who’s  there  –  your nose  the
snout    of    my    soul    our
foreheads  interrupting cow
Rosie interrupting cow who it
turned out suddenly bursting
fed all of the foundlings  four
times a  day  until  they  were
blown  full  and  happy  then
there   was   nothing   to    be
scared   for  –   skies  –   three
more grey hairs on my chin –
a lovely pregnant silence –  a
lovely  pregnant  silence  into
which     you      grew     and
eventually    told     me    the
punchline – moo