BrooksLooks@ Ranchers Sustained

Ranchers Sustained Audio

heavy rollers clank
on steel rails
overhead
recently slaughtered
carcasses
hung on hooks
swing past
by the half
and the quarter

heaved into place
a bandsaw whines
cut after cut
slicing through
muscle and bone
until bone dust
starts piling up

blood red slabs
slap down
on each stainless-steel table
as hyper-sharp knives
in a blur of fists
slice    toss    repeat
until a life once whole and alive
is neatly piled into buckets of each–
bone    fat     meat

a whoosh of the vacuum packer
as each steak, chuck, and round
is sealed in plastic bags
what’s left is
‘hamburger’ ground
the final path
on rolling racks
from open range
now piled
on shelves
in tidy stacks

amateur butchers
remove aprons of
thick yellow vinyl
covered in blood,
fat, and more
removing gloves
of black nitrile
sterilizing each table
and floor
the band saw
dismantled
until nothing remains
of this one life
hosed down the drains

and the grass-fed,
locally raised,
hormone-free,
grain-free,
well cared-for-cow
has been neatly processed
in a stainless steel plant
near the field
that once was its home–
a freezer now

and the circle of life
on a ranch continues
and the ranchers, sustained,

are able to live
by the lives their cows give

© Copyright 2021 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks / All Rights Reserved

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