Unsacred Cow

after Ted Hughes’ “View of a Pig”

by Christopher P. Mooney

A black-and-white beast

is dead.

Its enormous hulk

with lifeless eyes

in a monstrous lifeless head, hooves protruding,

still slick with the sweat

of that final thrashing effort.


Cold blood settling in the veins,

teeth clenched in a futile bite.

The death-mask grin is almost comical.


Reduced now to only beef,

its life and milk gone forever,

former strength already forgotten –

taken from it by a jagged hole

in the forehead.


He kicks it, beats it

with neither guilt nor shame,

tramples over it as if across a monochrome boardwalk.

The cow says nothing.


The dead never do.

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