Poetry No. 18 – Ann Davenport

slaughter
by Ann Davenport

Don’t you remember that cold-bright May morning
when the bison escaped the slaughterhouse
on 21st Street, tumbling through the neighborhood
lining the historic district
until they were hailed by 120 rounds
their enormous brown bodies
dying to escape death’s machinations
the yellow numbered tag stapled through each listening ear
falling to meet the genteel pavement of the shabby street
where breaks such thunderous noise
where untamable fur & resistant eyes
surely can’t belong, surely can’t be safe
whether they file obediently
through the gleaming chute
or seek sanctuary
on the mown lawns of Old Colorado City.
This was, what, ten years ago now.
We all watched the news
like there was nothing we could do.
Like it was somehow unexpected.
When will the strong among us ever
be called gentle while tradition
tattoos blood across the cop’s
line of sight, bloody blinders
funneling his aim to one result? Every step taken
was towards that chute. Beating hearts
pulsing towards the ground.
One after another
resounding foregone conclusions.

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Ann Davenport is a poet, essayist, translator, and devotee of fresh bread. She has hand-published three chapbooks: ends & beginnings (2000), riparian (2003), and love (2007). Her poetry and critical writing have appeared or are forthcoming in Bird’s Thumb, Pleiades: Literature in Context, The Stillwater Review, and Adanna Literary Journal. Ann serves as the Executive Editor of QuillsEdge Press.

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Photograph by Gessy Alvarez.

November 23, 2016