Heaven knows I'm not proud 
of being a meat-eater, but something
in me growls and snorts and licks
its jowls when I take apart a chicken
separating joint from joint, flesh
from bone. It's something my hands
know how to do, the part of me
that is my ancestors, and doesn't evolve
but only changes form. Before words
was hunger, driving us to run and thrust
spears, to taste the flesh of other bodies.
The wild, unspellable pounding
of our hearts, the intoxicating taste
of blood--we're no different from the bears
and killer whales and cats. And who is to say
they are not like me, grieving their prey
as it rolls through their guts. Lord,
if this makes me less, forgive me
for being a tiger instead of a lamb
and not rebuilding Eden, nor seeing
in the iridescent green shoots everything
I'll ever need, forsaking all I might be
for what I merely am.


E. D. Watson