The Slaughter

by Gregory E. Lucas

Behind the boy who kneels on the barn floor
blood flows across a hatchet blade lodged
cruelly in the frayed pink folds of a hog’s neck.
Steaming red rivulets ooze through the straw
spread from the final shudder in tremulous paths
gather in pools by the penitent’s bare heels.

Farther back, dense shadows cluster near
the narrowed coal eyes of the boy’s father
overlooking his son, who presses stained
palms against his dirt-streaked face lowered
into sunbeams cascading through the door;
they whiten and age too soon his tawny head.

Furrows widen in the father’s stern face.
November morning wind blows through chinks;
rusted hinges creak as loud as sobs
while splattered bits of the pig seep through
denim, congeal, and embed in the boy’s heart
fouled by the harsh chore of obedience.


Copyright © 2015 by Gregory E. Lucas

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