PoetryEtc Featured Poet: Mark Weiss   

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Having been treated to industrial slaughter
hard not to sympathize with the animals. My christian girlfriend
in admiration
calls me 'her beast.'

Like a bird
taking off,
she said.

The slaughter-house at Auschwitz
the cannibal feast
imagination of same.

En tout cas les conditions de boucherie ne sont pas aussi mauvais
qu'aux camps, mademoiselle.

Humble food served well
to pass the time in exile.

Certainly it's the distribution of goodies that's failed.
Devours its children.

The higher up the food chain
the better.
Stupid to be born a cow,
if one had the choice.

"Lovely hand deft bones
little meat."
So long in the tub that her flesh
seemed ready to come off the bone.
Ritual slaughter.

No landscape shrugs off history
but hides the scars.
A school for despair
a school for anger
a school for burn and build.
The faint
comforting smell
of his own excrement.
Not to spend a lifetime
carving a stone.

Image of the shtarke my grandmother's
legs like columns.
What a dance that was.
When my grandmother was seven her mother died
and they fled Poland. When she was twelve
her father killed himself.
Alone, then,
until the final bitterness of marriage.
Proud as a cactus.
Six months before her death
I held her naked body for the doctors to look at, surprised
at the fleshliness, the softness
of her old skin. Over and over she asked me
if the rent were paid. Over and over as if to be homeless
and old.
As if to be dead.
In the midst of what's silent.
How do you live with the weight of compassion.