A Letter to the Office of Death

I am no farmer,

and I have
never carried
a sickle.

A blade
pulled across wheat
is as foreign to me
as taking a sick dog
and a shotgun
far enough into a field
where the children
will certainly hear the bang
but not the whimper.

I have never yanked
a barely-breathing fox
out of the wrapped carnage
of the mangling of
a barbed wire trap.

I have never
killed the fox
to save my hens.

I have never
killed my hens
to feed my children.

My farm
is a silent caricature
slapped on the plastic label
of a neatly frozen fragment
of a something

far from the spaceless cage
where the soul of the creature
once left its body.

Death is no longer
the reaper.

It seems that death
no longer pulls life
from the ground
with its calloused hands.

I suppose the death
that we know best
is four walls containing
a perfect climate
and a music
which in any moment is
whatever we need it to be

to cover the sound of the bang,
as well as the whimper.

day #19 of #nationalpoetrymonth | Cover image: Priscilla Du Preez

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