When civilization ended a few rejoiced
because it meant losing
the horror of butchering
the last animal for the last
supper of meat. The next time
I joined the circus and slept on straw,
to the snoring zebras, lectured them
on the holiness
of the haunch, on the hideousness
of tears. Tonight,
I am the star grinning in the center
of the ring, waiting
for the gasp of the first housewife
to see the well-groomed
mat of hair on my back
that will remind her
of the dogs she loved, the ones
she could no longer feed
or bring herself to eat. The lights dim
and I wait on all fours
for the music to cue the girl in sequins
whose job is to pour
along my back the bucket of gymnasts
and high-wire acts
to make me dance and join the chorus
with my baritone
until the crowd rises to its feet and laughs
the stale, heartsick night away.
TODAY IN SLATE
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