Hooves were forbidden, but she fed us stringy liver, thick tongue, gray kishkes crammed with something soft. She had a bulb of garlic, a handful of salt, some wretched carrots. Drew out blood with salt, clamped her grinder and fed chunks into it and forced them down. She let me turn the crank, and red worms fell to the bowl. I ate according to the Law and the cow's flesh became my flesh. Now I lower my head to eat, moan when I wake from the fear dream, the one where we shove one another down the ramp toward the violent stench and the boy's knife. He lifts his arm in a rhythm I've always known.
Copyright © 2011 by Joan Larkin. Used with permission of the author.