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Original artwork by Katie M. Zeigler

Farm to Table

Collin Foote

I went from grazing the range to allowing the prod, following my cohort down a matted dirt path. Greeted with smells of fresh death, I forgo appetite and divert my gaze toward gaits of cloven hooves. The rancher of reckoning puts two between my eyes and at the thud of my massive frame, I become a grisly butcher owning a palpable taste for protein. Staring down my bovine body, skinless and cold on the slab, bone saw in calloused hand, I make primal cuts through a former self – starkly remembered but seldom mourned. Letting leftover blood leach a saw-dusted floor, I again secede appetite and sever the final flank. When my slaughterman’s heart makes a palsied fist and one body enfolds the other, I become my final form, seated at a table with friends I don’t accredit. I find we’re in a place where you cook your own cut and the appetite retreats since it knows where this is headed. I test the waitstaff on my origins, ask if they knew the butcher and hear vacuous remarks on my demises – starkly mourned but seldom remembered. I concede to vapid dining, my prized pieces subject to the party’s salivation while they cook every steak to well-done.

I gave my all to satiate, the recycled martyr existing unbeknown till seeing devoured self. Still, they turn toward me, donning doltish grins as candled cake is placed at my hollowed brisket and begin to sing, “Happy Birthday.”