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Butcher’s bloody cleaver hangs high on a varnished peg;
here am I: primitive; pierce and sever, decimate, debauch
carve and subjugate, leaving a bloodied bovine or lamb.
Yet I rekindle broken lives; resurrect mangled dead, or
recompose, mincing. Do they see, I cleverly create steak,
shanks, chops – meat! – an abattoir maestro and I transcend
‘artisan’. Thickhead cattle I up – prime beef now triumphs –
a conquest! Ruler and unequaled King of farmer’s market;
to them, who provides quality, brings exquisite taste? I.



About the poem: It’s written in the “Sudoku” style: A grid of 9 rows by 9 columns; each row, column, and 3×3 square must contain the numbers 1-9 once only. This is the poetic equivalent: i.e., replacing the numbers with words of that length. The structure of the poem is the puzzle, rather than the subject, although there is an element of reconstruction in the subject matter, too.


Alexander Sawyer-Irish is a British writer of fiction and art appreciator, currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife. He has been published in numerous literary journals over the years as well as editing one single-handedly for a while. He enjoys sculpting and collecting taxidermy, as well as anything involving literature.

© 2014, Alexander Sawyer-Irish

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