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  • did you think they wouldn’t bleed
    because you held them first
    trembling chins cupped in one palm,
    other hand behind your back,
    cleaver handle in its grip?

    they know what you will do,
    have heard the cymbal clash,
    song of steel on whetstone,
    watched you sand the countertops
    and rub in Glumber oil.

    but who can prepare for her own
    evisceration—the first primal cut,
    excision of the heart?
    even the butcher is sucker punched
    with the first blow by doe eyes

    that stare you down with fear
    and pity as you raise your knife,
    eyes that still plead as you walk by
    arm in arm with a new lover.
    those cows will bleed for years.
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