By: Gretchen Primack
The body floods with chemicals saying, Love this, and she does, and births it; it is a boy
she begins to clean and nose, but he is dragged away by his back feet. She will never touch him again, though she hears him howl and calls back for days.
Her breast milk is banked for others. Her son
is pulled away to lie in his box.
He will be packed for slaughter. How ingenious
we are! To make product from byproduct:
make use of the child,
kill and pack and truck him to plates.
And when her gallons slow, we start over,
and her body says, Love this! And she does,
though in a moment she will never touch
him again. His milk is not for him.
And when the milk slows too slow,
she will join him on the line, pounds
of ground. How we will dine!
And talk of our glossy dogs! Her body
will break up on our forks, as mothers
beg us for the grain we stuffed her with,
and children beg us for the water
scouring her blood from the factory walls.
And when her wastes and gases and panic
heat our air so hot our world stops
breathing--then will we stop?
Then will we grow kind,
let the air cool and mothers breathe?
This poem originally appeared in KIND, a poetry collection by Gretchan Primack.
Gretchen Primack is the author of two poetry collections, Doris' Red Spaces (Mayapple Press 2014) and Kind (Post-Traumatic Press 2013). Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Field, Poet Lore, Ploughshares, and other journals. Also an animal advocate, she co-wrote the memoir The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery 2012). Visit her website at http://www.gretchenprimack.com/