I was born in a slaughterhouse. I cannot think these things. Before I was hacked away, I was unaware, part of a collective called a cow. I don’t remember much of it, or know if I can say I ever knew what we ate, if we bred, what colors we were. I do remember something about Jersey and how it feels to add transformed—whatever it was—to our cells. I came to life, not when we were killed but when a cleaver removed my matter from the rest. I wonder how many like me were pulled into awareness before the rest were buried, still a network, still one being. Or were they burned as bones?
I was boxed and shipped. It was so cold when we moved. And in that darkness I recalled being part of a being and willing it to move. Our spirits willed us forward. With death, we were inert, and so was I. I couldn’t even shiver. Winter and night, I think were the words for the times we did. Of course, we didn’t talk so how can I really say? Especially now that I can’t even moan.
My box was carried by a collective of meat and spirits, like we used to be but shaped differently, through a room where others liked it chopped and singed shorn-off substances like me. Vegetable and animal. Vegetables don’t bleed. I don’t know what bleeding means, but I did before I could say “I”. I was set in another cold room and eventually removed from both the chill and the wrapping.
And then I was heated on top of a stove. Just when I felt as if I would burn, though parts of me were still so pink as to be nearly blood, whatever that might mean, I was lifted and set among other fragments—all of plants: potato, carrot, lettuce. We were set on a tray, with several identical plates. Could every piece of meat around me think the way I do?
I cannot speak. I cannot know. We’ve all been placed before people now: escorts, bosses, models, fairies who tore off their wings. I don’t know what that means. The other slabs are being cut and lifted, piece by piece, to mouths. Each piece must become aware, as I did, at cleaving.
A furry face looks down on me. Cutting doesn’t hurt, but my awareness is fading.
Written for the prompt: wings, hog, escorts, boss, models, rare, tonight.
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