On the farm, we ate animals we had raised ourselves.

While I waited for my death, my body and I fought. It began to reject the food I tried to feed it. I ate more and it rejected more. I fell asleep on the bathroom floor, my body tired from vomiting and dry-heaving for hours.

Behind Grandma’s house, there was a clothesline between the power pole and the chicken coop with smaller strings attached, for hanging chickens to slit their throats. We’d already hung and chopped and boiled and plucked the hens this year. While my younger sister in her room smashed a pillow over her head to keep out the cries that carried up the hill to our house, the wives and mothers, my older sister and I, had ripped the feathers from the new-dead flesh.

Past the power line, across from the Brown House, a new cow hung on an old hook, dripping blood onto the dusty ground, waiting to be flayed. My uncle knew the places to cut, the names for the parts when they ceased to be animal and became, under the sawblade, meat: round, shank, sirloin, flank, ribs, brisket. Parts would be divided, wrapped in butcher paper, distributed among our families and even to the Guys from the Brown House. There were more cows to butcher, but this one had the privilege of a public dismemberment.

Still, I ate him, knowing that my body was, like his, just meat.

from The Book of Revelation

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