I Wish I Were a Japanese Cow

By Timothy Kercher

To be bred for centuries
for muscle density,
to be given beer that serves a purpose—

creating meat, my meat,
sought after by all the most refined
connoisseurs of meat, the meat I marble
within my body, the meat I use to move—

I would be barn-kept and grain-fed
while hand-massaged to assuage
the problem of sedentary living;

no matter that to get at my rib-
eye, T-bone, or flank steak,
I will have to be sliced open

as we all have to open up sometime,

flesh peeled back, hung
on a spike in a cow Golgatha,
sides of beef to my left and right, 

to know I could be singled out
& needed is a need
I’ve always had growing

under my skin like muscle and fat.


Timothy Kercher originally from Colorado, now lives in Kyiv, Ukraine after having been in the Republic of Georgia for the past four years, where he was editing and translating an anthology of contemporary Georgian poetry. He teaches high school English and is working in his fifth country overseas—Mongolia, Mexico, and Bosnia being the others. In August, the number of his traveling companions increased twofold; he and his wife are now accompanied by newborn twin daughters, Ani and Ketevan.

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