Lamb of
the Lord
from On Paths: IV

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All energy is directed
down to a single point
as with but one blow
he hammers the bullet
into the kidgoat's skull.
Just as deftly, he slits its
throat, draining the blood.

Still warm, what was once
all muscle and resistance
lays limp in the straw, while
a sibling is tied with a short
snatch of rope and wrenched
up to the scale in one smooth

   More than 12 kilos means
   certain death.

He carries the two carcasses
by the hind legs, one in each
hand, working hard to keep
their dangling heads with
stubby little devil's horns
out of the freshly fallen
snow, making his way from
barn to his basement where
he'll dress the meat.

Three of the village children
peak out from the side of the barn,
their blushed cherub faces watching
the scene as if from a slightly distant.
more subtle realm of being.
A lean black dog growls and snaps,
cutting frenzied figure 8's in the snow
around the farmer's slow, methodical.
all-business-like trek back to the house.

In a distant city, a dinner
party is about to begin. It is spring,
Everyone is dressed in their Sunday best.
"How tender," they say. At that same moment,
the farmer and his family say grace
and cross themselves.

From a window above: Inside, at the table,
almost timeless, happy, faces look
down into their steaming bowls
of fresh stomach stew. Outside,
in the mountain darkness, snow
falls without a whisper of wind,
flake by flake, erasing all the travail
of another day's passage.

Truly, if there were indeed angels,
how they would endlessly love to
discuss the mysterious ways
our world of earthlings is threaded
together anew, each time
a life is taken, each time it snows,
each time—

      we break bread.

{Image: Saint Wendell, patron
saint of mountain farmers, frequently
found above or to the side of barn
doors in the German speaking
area of the Alps.)
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