predation

i forgive myself for choosing to be a predator.
for sharp teeth and an active imagination.
for killing my meat, in an age when
killing is a luxury, not a need.
i forgive myself for raising
birds to be slaughtered,
and for doing the slaughtering.
for the gasping opened beak
and warm blood running down my hands,
for indifference to the final shudder,
the hard wing-flapping death,
the open eye i do not meet
until it glazes.
for preying upon other life,
and planning it.
for being a part of the cycle,
and doing the dirty work,
and owning up to it,
and teaching others.
and, when the work is done,
the blood washed off,
the last eye closed,
for delighting in the savor
of the meat.

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