I am an animal :: Kina Viola

I am an animal
so I prepare my animal body
for the apocalypse,
do pushups on the dusty rug,
do pushups in reverse to target
my triceps, dip my body
using the ceramic outer wall
of the bathtub. I take a personality
test: FAST, STRONG, &
I am frantic, wild in the dark.
I clutch at the possibilities of children.
At night I dream I’m full &
heaving, drag my bleeding stomach
to the beach to give birth:
I expected a baby & was gifted
a monster, how well-known
is the pattern, the fear, how many
women dream of something
like this? I pulled pieces
from my body, dead turkey carcass
wings & the headless body,
the gaping hole and flaps
of too-clean skin. The rubber feel,
the lifeless horrible crushing sense
of body leaving body
nothing but the stench of bleach.
I wake up sobbing and shock
myself with my sadness. I am animal
rage more often than not,
considering the ways of survival.
supposed to have a baby. We were
supposed to breathe life into a human
baby. We were supposed to be
together. Today a man lectured me
on the ecological implications
of the industrial beef industry, as if
understanding we are not all a part
of death is not my current,
every-day occupation. Today a woman
said that she preferred no one ate meat.
I too wish I was not a part of death
& that evading this question were
easier for me. Death is woven
into every fiber of your cotton sweater,
lady, every inch of your hair I imagine
must be very soft & very thin, flimsy
& almost breaking. If the fact
that hogs can eat a human corpse
in as little as 8 minutes doesn’t
convince you you are meat,
nothing will. The snow comes.
The snow comes and we are preserved
in little packets of ice until needed,
individually-wrapped and convenient;
we don’t tread water we drink it
we don’t grow food we drink it
I’m drunk again & contemplating
the size of livestock animals, the round-
ness of a cows eye and how well
I can see myself in it. How I have
attempted at each crossroads to sculpt
a body capable of enduring itself,
reflected in the black orb I am always
and contracting around the hole
that eats me. I lean, I am limber,
as all earthlings swallow their young
some type of way. As some lovers
choose their objects without care. As I think
how I wish he would have killed me
& think also of how I didn’t let him.
We are so stubborn about survival.