Chapter 16
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Book Excerpt: The Book of Awe


You talk aloud to the rare bones and meat
on your plate, quoting Blake:
“Little Lamb who made thee,
Dost thou know who made thee.”

No question marks the poet’s version.
And you aren’t asking either.
It is done.
Heavy with impossible answers,
you slide the knife blade into flesh.
The only rhetoric is violence.
This sacrifice will nourish you,
as you know
you are meant to nourish
everything around you in return.

A little guilt goes down like salt,
inside a prayer or out,
a meager nod to blood and gore
acknowledging that you are likewise
only passing through.
One tender bite, you taste the suffering to come,
staved off once more like hunger
in an amnesty of crystal candlelight,
the luxurious tablecloth white as wool.

Your instinct is to bleat.