Billions Served

by Timothy Liu

A cow without an eye? Not an uncommon sight
in stockyards run by the stocks we hold—cancer

eating out her eye, half of her face, and part
of her skull and brain. Better to have died

en route—pig sockets bleeding from electric
shocks that send them squealing down a steel sluice,

the ones not fit for meat left to starve—guts
bursting from the sides of a goat as maggots hatch

in the folds. How far now to the nearest fast
food joint? Miles of tracks. Acres fertilized

with baby chicks ground up alive, the males no good
for hatcheries. Death’s industry a sight

kept from our view where euthanasia’s simply not
cost effective while the bull market rises—

a metal bolt now striking through the skulls
of newly stunned veals, conveyor belts starting up

as the hooves and heads come off whether or not
the throats are slit, fingers ground down to stubs

while families try to make ends meet—
a long line of workers as far as the eye can see.

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