Butchering
Angela Readman


The tip of his tongue between his lips as he grabs the knife and slices the belly, face up. the deep ,pink inside like a flower opening to his touch. A flush in his cheeks glazed as pork. He rubs beads of sweat from his face with the back of his arm. When he turns slightly from the block there's moisture on his shoulder blades, through his shirt like bloody wings. A mixture of sweat with a rust tint of blood from carting the animal from the back of the van. He is a man with no sentiment about stripping fat from the bone, peels the meat back gently as a parted lip. I watch him, my motherís list curling in my palms. He drops the joints of meat into piles, sorts the prime from the stew, a soft slap of flesh on the block. All around him pigs hang with smiling faces, the sun blooms into coral shells as light streams through the window and touches their ears. I could feel queasy if I didnít just focus on the determination with which he just chops,his smile like a cleaver wiped clean as he turns to me, wiping blood from the offal he has liberated, the hearts he tugged before they lay in his hands. †


First published: May, 2010
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