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Everything We Eat Used to Be Alive, or Still Is  photo

the guy on NPR says. He says that carrots are still living
when you bite into them, that they have the wherewithal
to release a chemical signal warning the other carrots
of your descending mouth so that they may try
to burrow their roots into the root-proof, soilless crisper
of your fridge. You can’t help but feel a little cannibalistic
when you hear it, even as you virtuously chomp down
on your super-dead steak, the other thing you’re eating
for dinner. 
                   (This isn’t a poem about being a vegan, by the by; 
it’s a poem about consciousnesses, the different types of them, or
what counts as one). 
                                     Your beautiful steak, with the velvet-soft
fur on the end of its nose and its wet wet eyes watching
watching watching. A cow is a type of consciousness, too, 
that we know nothing about. Inside her: a wordless, slow
place made of smells. Or—her interior—a wordless blood place
made of meat. But each of us is, basically, that same kind
of thing, no matter what nomenclature. Human beings,
we stress, desperate to differentiate ourselves. The cow
is being too, until she’s not. Standing in a field at sunrise,
she takes a shit without even realizing it. She thinks,
the grass is wet the sun is brown like a spot on my baby
I am hungry woman soft I am grass field mother clover.

The clover thinks a zap of chemicals over to some other
clover—watch out for that fucking cow. 
                                                                        The blades of grass, 
too numerous to even consider—the grass the grass the grass

image: Dorothy Chan


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