Richard M. Rocco 


In todays Business Section 
Sandra Blakeslee reports on rendering, 
that industrial art of recycling 
scrap meat into useful products of commerce. 
The last bite of pot roast 
left on a china plate in the Chop House Restaurant 
or the unused parts from Bellinis Butcher Shop, 
hooves, heads, spinal cords, feathers and bones. 

Four hundred thousand pounds 
of euthanized cats and dogs, she writes, 
from the animal shelters of LA alone. 
Tons of road kill brought in by the men 
in iridescent orange vests 
who keep our highways clean 
with their flat wide shovels. 

Whole bodies, bits and pieces, 
minced and ground then steam cooked 
into a mash. The fat off the top 
taken for soap and candles, 
the lower gelatinous layer 
reserved for pharmaceuticals, fertilizer 
and gummy bears. 

Which takes me back 
to my favorite green ones. 
Their gentle paws tucked into the cusp 
of a back molar while my brother 
and I bang into each other 
in the back seat of our father's white Buick, 
fighting over nothing, 
tearing at the gristle in our mouths, 
choking on the raspberry and cherry flavors 
that bleed into the back of our throats. 

Copyright 2000, Richard M. Rocco 

Richard M. Rocco lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and works in medical research at a biotechnology company. He has published 
many poems in lit mags but this is the first time on the web. 

Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2 

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