Allen Braden


Dead and drained on chain and crane, 
it sways with clumsy beauty. 
Raise 'im up. He's done bleedin'. 
A knife nips at the Angus 
hanging in the brisk air. 

Pull back the skin...farther! 

The butcher in white 
yells over the John Deere 
and tugs at the hide's lining. 
There is a ripping sound 
as if he were uprooting sod. 

He slices the belly open 
and the stomachs tumble out. 
The flesh cools as he works. 
The liver, a bruised pillow of iron, 
hides in loops of intestine. 

Flukes...pitch it. 

His chain saw shrapnels the spine, 
reducing the quarters down 
to what he can use: 
chuck, rump, flank, 
tongue, brisket, T-bone. 

Copyright 1997, Allen Braden 

Allen Braden has received a grant from Artist Trust, a Grolier Poetry Prize and a Sam Ragan Prize.  His poetry has appeared nationally in Shenandoah, Greensboro Review, The Southern Review and The  
Georgia Review, and locally in Poetry Northwest, Clackamas Literary Review, Open Spaces and Raven Chronicles.  A fourth generation resident of Washington State, he grew up in White Swan and lives in Puyallup. "The Butchering" was previously published in Green Fuse (Winter 1997). 

Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2 

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