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January 2018, vol 13 no 4

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Claire Everett

A Glass Wall

handprints . . .
what cannot be

A calf rooting for any palm that might yield mother’s milk. A cull cow, saved at last from the milker, spends her last hours as a dummy-run for the novice inseminator. Blarting lambs who’ve gambolled their last, dangle from the killing rail. Turkeys and chickens, shackled by their legs, are headed for the electrical water bath.

And pigs, mouths foaming from thirst. Pigs that have never wallowed in the sun with their ears like dusky pink swatches shading eerily human eyes. Moment upon moment looms up at me as if I’ve peered into a knothole to find an iris staring back: blue, now green, now brown.

Stunned as I am, might I at least stay under until the last of the knifing?

pinching the skin
above my elbow . . .
only a dream