Not a Parody

by Elsa Johnson

We can’t live any other way           we think               when we think of the plastic

bags from the grocery store                               how else will we get these twenty

cans of cat food home ?              The vet says :     they are not designed for grain

carbohydrates          must eat meat :               tuna and mackerel     minced                

grilled chicken       savory roast beef dinner              best not to dwell too long

on which parts are inside these cans    

                                                                    They are carnivores             these soft cat

creatures              that like to settle their fluff around our faces                  nestle

into a shoulder for a good night’s sleep            They have no say in their nature          

and so they kill whatever moves    in innocence :    bird on the wing      squirrel

on the run         stalking to standoff the groundhog                  (so well named)

the one that sleeps under the neighbors’ porch                and slimes the lettuce


& trade offs :              the terrible lowing of all the unseen beasts as they move

toward slaughter                the amputated chicken legs still wavering the air      

though no longer connected    to brain :            all the unacknowledged animal

martyrs               so that neighborhood birds live free          of furred marauders   

But I digress :            I was saying        we think we cannot live any other way


When the autopsy was finished                 their stomachs were found to be full        

of thoroughly indigestible            un-ejectable           but enduring plastic trash :    

these two    huge   sperm whales                       leviathans of the deep vast             

lying dead on an impossible to pronounce        pristine       Icelandic        beach