Our Butcher

Original Text: 

Carmine Starnino. This Way Out. Kentville, Nova Scotia: Gaspereau Press. 2009

1I could bone up, be the right man for that one-man job,
2hang by its hocks a rabbit shucked from the jacket
3of its black-bristled fur and still talking in twitches.
4As well, I might grasp the particular way he swings
5a cleaver, brings it down on a neck like a primitive.
6More to the point, I'd learn to move the beak of my blade
7into the fragrance of a flank, or browse apart a chest's
8cardiac leafage, my white apron a blotchwork of blood.
9I'd like to pickle ox tongue and pig feet, screw lids
10on sheep tripe and calf brain, set out jars like indices
11to carcasses unpacked like suitcases. Striated and plush,
12crewelworked with fat and grosgrained with gristle,
13meat is not semblance, meat is baroque. That said,
14I'd love to break back the pages of a shank and read all day.
15Tales about the flex and kick, the squawk and gack
16of things in pens: grass-nipping goats, had-been hens,
17hogs which nuzzled mud and snorkelled its odours
18until their plug was pulled and the spinning gears
19stilled to small organs, organs I'd like to disinter and wrap,
20risen again inside the pink of new paper skin.
RPO poem Editors: 
Jim Johnstone
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Poem used with the permission of the author.