Halal Ohio

by Sylvie Robinson
The others stand pissing and shitting in preparation for their death: no. 
The others stand pissing and shitting: somatic functions of life: yes. 
Where I wait.
Life is a dirty face, a fleece stained urine yellow: no: three fleeces,
three dirty faces, brought in a trailer by Derek: yes:
who stands at a distance with his son,
who is fat and dressed in camouflage;
together they stand at a distance: no:
together they wait from a distance, 
not looking: no: looking, not watching: yes.
Ho, io, oh, I know these sheep rearing men of Central Ohio: no.
                            The man near, though, I thought I knew. 
Or if not him, at least his hands, 
                                             now thick in the fleece, 
                                                                    now dragging
                            a protesting bleat
                            to a hole dug 
                            for deafening
                            by a shovel 
                            I found for him
                            whose hands I
                            thought I knew. 
                                              Knew: yes: for reincarnating al-Khwarizmi in lines of white chalk, reunion of broken parts.  
                                                        A feminine flourish to the fingers, I remember thinking.
            Yes: a hesitation. 
                                                                                                                    .ذلك السنة أكلنا الجبر لعيد الأضحى
 Even so, my eyes would glaze, waiting to be sated by morning toast and jam. 
             Hungover and not yet hungry for the sacrificial lamb. 
I think we spent days calculating inheritances for our imaginary wives. Let me die, I might whisper to my fingertips. Pay the zakat first, he might say,
                                          his fingernails scratching away
 at the dirt soiling the decimal's true dawn. 
                                       Sometimes I bathed in its light; 
                                                                         sometimes I held my head in my hands
when watching him the professor, him the man
                                      I knew: no: for the left that held the neck and the right that slit the throat: yes. 
The flesh, 
                the pulsating artery and throbbing vein dividing to the equation of his blade. 
          The cut windpipe coughing blood, 
                                              wetting the warm soil, wetting his fingers, long: yes. Sure: yes. Sawing, once, twice. The sound.
                The head unhinging
                to flail freely 
                as spasms rack the 
                the body and final
                synapses fire while
                legs kick and 
                hooves dig 
                small moons
                in the soil. 
Only he knowing the precise moment of death. The sacrificer, the sacred, the yes.