It was a temple of the dark sublime with high-speed elevators
………that lifted us—O lyric lift—to the97thlevel.
Our cubicles resembled milking stalls in an agribusiness dairy
………where the farmhands—call them that, though their job descriptions
Said Lactic Technicians—are what they always were. I remember
………the mauled one whose left arm, ripped off by a sorghum cutter,
Used to beat his children while he was sleeping; and the woman
………whose face was eclipsed by a malignant shadow of birthmark—
She saw small metallic devils twisting the hydraulic valves of the giant
………chrome tank in the milk room. The foreman was the normal one;
He kept an eye on us all but carried a pistol in the small of his back—
………For rats, he muttered with a sidelong maniac grin. Then there were the cattle:
They queued up continually at the barn door mooing for us to service
………their animal needs: food in, milk out, and cycle away the shit,
But they dreamed of liquid nitrogen, the tanks of sperm in a distant room,
………harvested from the bovine elite and stored like platinum: capital,
You might say, flowing from its mystical font into the bloodline
………of nonstop traffic, newsstands, a Cartier's branch on the corner,
The far field of Times Square, sterilized, the great political hosing
………now in the past, occluded by the digital billboard: Got Milk?
T.R. Hummer is author of 10 books of poetry. His 11th, Skandalon, is forthcoming from LSU Press.
For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click spacerhereyeshyperlinkPoetry SubmissionsSlate reads new poems from Oct. 1 to April 30. Manuscripts sent between May 1 and Sept. 30 will not be considered.To submit poems: Send, as a single attached document, up to three poems of no more than 50 lines each to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the poet's name for the subject line of the e-mail and for the title of the attachment. We prefer Word documents (.doc or .docx) to PDFs.Please include a brief, professional cover letter, including publication history, in the body of your email. Please limit submissions to one per poet per annual reading period. Simultaneous submissions are OK. Slate no longer accepts poetry submissions by mail. The email address email@example.com is for poetry submissions only (or to notify editors of acceptance elsewhere of a poem under consideration at Slate). Other inquiries, etc., will not be addressed.10000false220061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM63271989937000000020061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM632719899370000000.Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.Click here for an archive of discussions about poems with Robert Pinsky in "the Fray," Slate's reader forum.