I will cut you a rage of meat of decadent cards Ronaldo V. Wilson from Self Portrait as Excess O: O Self Selves It can’t feel a thing my boyfriend hollered as I ran away from the screaming pig, blood dripping from where they’d ineptly shot it in the head in the attempt to slaughter it, blood dripping to puddle beneath, in the dirt. It can’t feel anything he said over and over as I clutched my ears, squatting in a dusty field, cars parked around steady as cattle. Screaming pigs sound like fevered babies, screaming. I wanted my ears to turn to cauliflower, to sprout asparagus, something green and crunchy, something which could not hear pain. He stood over me trying to appeal to my reason. I was still too close, could hear someone suggest they just slit its throat. I stood. I kept my hands clutched to my ears. I wished I’d never eat meat again as I walked away, slowly, shoulders back, proud I could walk away, that I would refuse to witness the slaughter, though they all said I should, if I was going to eat its flesh. I did. I ate its meat. The grease ran hot down my fingers, slick as reason.
The Rock-a-bye Motel in Luling is closed. Little stone mission of long-haul pullovers And one night stands taped off like a body Investigators have yet to examine. Down the road a post oak shadow points To the bloodied corpse of a buzzard, One black wing reaching up out of the contorted mass like a Pentecostal’s arm flung heavenward. On the shoulder the cowboy draws breath as if He were pulling a drag on a cigarette, tosses An empty one onto the passenger side floorboard littered with Lone Star cans. No one’s feet find room there. He remembers the girl in tight black jeans and a shiny top That revealed her pierced belly button, bright as a newborn Star. He wanted to suck on the bauble, pull it with his teeth, Hear her moan. She sure looked like a moaner. He took her to room 7 where she skittered about like a wing-wounded grackle, tackled him to the bed, Giggling at the white skin of his hairless chest, Took the phone cord from the white phone on the unsteady nightstand And wrapped it around his neck. “Twenty bucks or I fucking kill you,” she hissed, her breath Burning his upturned, chuckling mouth. He had to laugh. He wanted to take her but wasn’t going to spend his beer money. So he rolled her over, pulling the cord from his neck, his legs doing all the work work built him up for. “Fuck you, cowboy!” she cursed slithering her taut frame, her gangly limbs From his grip and out the door. “That’s the idea,” he drawled, took a swig From his sweaty can. He backs up down the shoulder, reversing all The way to the Rock-a-Bye Motel, tosses Empty Lone Stars one by one into the yellow tape-off lot. On the highway vultures settle down to feast.
Rebecca Oxley is an Air Force veteran who lives in Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Creative Writing where she also won the Howard Moss Undergraduate Poetry Award in 1999.