There are some things too sacred to teach
but, tonight, I’m home from war & the butcher
demonstrates the perfect cut: medallions
of Iberico so thin I can see the silvered blade
through each sliver. He buries bone spike in hock,
lifts calla to his nose, claims to smell the acorns
on which it feasted, the trees’ roots, the black lake
from which the hog drank. I’ll believe anything.
In a country I’ll never see, tribesman turn corpses
into wine: particles of bone picked from the ashes
of cremation fires, ground with corn; the body
rests in the simple box of another’s body.
Once, I watched a coroner prep an open casket
for a soldier. He trimmed the hair, cut short
the fingernails, washed the skin. Because war breaks
the hearts of men, I no longer believe
dirt deserves our dead. When only bone remains,
the butcher says, find the bluest vein & drink.