The Reluctant Carnivore

I watched a video today,

the joy of old dairy cows

rescued from a fate at a slaughterhouse,

released into a verdant pasture

somewhere in Germany.


My eyes filled with tears

for freedoms

surely I have taken for granted

and in compassion of their

expressions of gratitude—

kicking their hooves in delight

about the succulent clover

on their first venture

from a lifetime locked in a dairy barn.

These cows just wanted to be—

do what cows do,

live in grasslands

chew their cud

and moo.


I thought,

do they think

about how the grass feels

before they munch upon the blade

or merely appreciate

its presence before them

and in their four stomachs?


I am tortured now

as I eat a steak or meatball,

thinking of the high kicking kine

in Bavarian hillsides.

These are the cows who didn’t make it,

who could not be free.

I choke back a tear

and swallow my thoughts

with another bite of beef.

2016 copyright by Katie Pifer




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