Nick McRae


The foreman's bullhorn throats the hour.
Workers, small and thirsty as fleas,
spread from squared huts,
ascend the necks of cranes.
Engines moan. Belted tracks pull machines
through the clay's fresh wound, red as raw steak.
Air brakes hiss open a new day.
There is a crash. A wrecking ball pierces the shell
of Hammond's Slaughter House.
The ball swings again, cracks the steel ribs,
spreads them open to the sky.
Bulldozers lurch, scrape aside the rubble
with their flat knives.
The cranes sleep.

And immediately you are a child,
your grandmother parting chicken meat
with a cleaver. She wipes the tool on her apron,
husks the bird of its spongy skin.
She will never chance the word thigh
never leg or breast.
She speaks only of soup. Of stew and sausage.
Beautiful butchery.

You see her leathered hands in these men
as they lean into their work,
their graceful destruction.

The foreman sounds the lunch horn.
Workers scurry into their aluminum hives
as you trace the still-new absence with a finger.

Nick McRae studies English and Creative Writing at the University of West Georgia, where he writes poetry and experiments in digital art. He is currently an exchange student at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. His art and poetry have been previously published in DIAGRAM.

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