Monday, February 6, 2012



What does the cowhide hide.
The fact that it used to hold

a body, breathing, sleeping,
finding pleasure in sunlight.

Where does that knowledge
go, when we buy the rug,

bring it home, sliding it over
the wood, a brindled amoeba.

We can hide from the idea
that somewhere, there is a cow

missing its skin, wandering
ghostily through the fields

where it once muddled orchard
grass and clover in its mouth,

sweet, gluey. The cow was
rewound, unspooled. We need

to undo it far enough to forget
there was an animal born in it.


  1. I found this very powerful and unsettling - in all the ways I imagine you would want it to be.

  2. Bravo on this one, Hannah. I do this myself, when I buy "beef" or "pork". I try to forget that I'm eating something that had eyes and wanted its life. For this reason, I at least draw the line at lamb and veal, which I never eat. *sigh* If only my heart and my stomach could come to some kind of agreement.

  3. what do we hide from ourselves by not acknowledging truth? we hide our own transience. clever fools.

    great poem. necessary.


  4. Echoing Fireblossom's comment except to admit to being born in Mexico where 'cabrito' (lamb) is a primary meat consumed much like beef in the U.S. Now that I reside here I've only consumed 'cabrito' a couple of times.

    'erin' you are right on!

  5. Wow, Hannah! This poem finely homes in on a subject most people will never address.

    Love the double-meaning of your title.

  6. Oh Hannah...I have always wanted to have cowhide...just love them, and now I feel I must retire the idea...even though I have sheep skin. I really must become entirely vegetarian... Have a great week!

  7. I love "a brindled amoeba."

    I will be thinking about single-celled as well as other animals today.

  8. Hmmm, "brindled amoeba", Can they make coats from them?
    I'm laughing here!!!!!

  9. Oh, wow. This is beautiful and unsettling. I love it.


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