Lunch Break at a Residential School

May 1, 2014

When I’m hungry, I love to stroll past the campus barnyard and visit the colorful, caged characters who live, like me...

When I’m hungry, I love to stroll past

the campus barnyard and visit the colorful,

caged characters who live, like me,

in their wired worlds. Roosters strut

and crow, turkeys spread their feathers

in fans of red and black, and the pigs

sleep like pink parabolas of Bermuda sand.

My hunger makes me imagine the carnage

required to slaughter all this beauty into food-

the hatchet’s quick crunch on a turkey’s neck,

the racket of flapping wings, torrents

of gushing blood, a bullet fired into

a pig’s brain, butcher knife slippery

with fat and entrails, my arms red

to the shoulders. And I understand this is

the violence my students endure on home-

boy streets, where guns and blades are flashed

to nourish fear and power, weapons drawn

in the preen and strut that leaves no doubt

about who is predator and who is prey.