The Farmhouse, the Old Barn in the Frame, Faceless Animals in Soft Focus

Oh sure, the pink slip, the lamb’s tongue—little
rougher than when I reached for its shape. A poem

does that—packs in the pastoral to moment,
blazes an erasure of the dried whey protein

feeding the creature, asks you to think of a mother
in a negative shape, feel the process of death

as a child, which is to say, somewhere else and not
any battered twine that touches you. In the corner—

look—that’s the filter I want to frame all the iPhone
pics I take back home: saturated nostalgia but the cold

light to tell you that I see something else,
an understanding that I eat without consequence

but its OK because I caressed the withers of sheep
or cows or whatever, that I knew where their slaughter

lived. My apartment has plants in it. I’m still a farmer.
My moon metaphors work with the almanac, that cold

light, that speculative distance tautening disgust
and reverence. But—look—so cute, so cauterized.

Copyright © 2019 Caroline Crew. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, May/June 2019. Reprinted with permission of the author.