10 November, 2011


As a child I hunted the weak
members of the playground,
striking with whatever words
would wound most deeply.
There was no place for sympathy
in this most elementary of food chains.
Of the four chambers
in the human heart, mercy
ought to squeeze into one of them.
I never felt guilty trying kill the human spirit.

When my dad shot the elk and broke her back
we hustled through the snow to make her ending quick.
She looked at us with fearful, wild forfeit
and I wished we weren’t there.
He tenderly slit her throat and her wildness
seeped onto the sagebrush, melted the snow—
her eyes dim, dark, marble.
Why should I care more for her suffering
than for my own kind?

We hide in revenge and terror,
numb to the ripped esophagus
of our bleeding brothers.

~ ~ Joel E. Jacobson

Catapault Magazine, Vol. 9, No. 18 (October, 2010).