Marcella Wolfe
Curve of the Pen

It’s little more than the curve of the pen
that makes for a humane killing,
the slight arc the fence makes
keeping cattle safely in line
on their journey toward your fork tip.

In a curved pen a steer won’t witness
the culling of his brother before him;
in a sound-proofed chamber
he calms before dying.

One by one little calves are stunned,
while down some dirt road
no one knows the name of
another goodly farmer
kills worms while tending soil
planting grain for your daily bread.

We fool ourselves into thinking
feeding ourselves will be kind.
We want that hand closing the pen door
silent as the hand of god.
We want our own path curved.