February 18, 2012

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The vegetarian

After the long run home,
sixteen miles through the
rippling heat of summer,
up through the Brookfield woods
past the darkened shop
in the trees where
the taxidermist plugged
fake eyes into dead bucks
and made them live forever
on the walls of cottages
and hunting camps,
past Brenton Cross and
fields of grazing cattle
knowing not of the
latticed trucks to come,
and on from there to
the place of fishing licenses
and the turkey supper hall
and the house of the man
who paid schoolboys
$2 each for muskrat pelts at
the freeze-up each November,
my mother folds her arms
before pork chops,
hot from the stove,
and stares with
hardening eyes at the
vegetables on my plate.
Her words,
invoking the men she fed
all those years from the mill,
jump like trout from her mouth.
That diet might be
good enough for you, she says,
but what if you had
to do any physical work?

c 2012