I expected them to tell me that my bacon
had come from a happy pig, one that had had a full life,
was corn fed and had free range, did yoga in the mornings,
played the cello, spoke Latin and learned
to salsa dance while visiting relatives in Cuba.
I thought maybe there would have been a photo album
to accompany the sacrifice, documenting its first birthday,
first snow and first of everything else,
here an oink, there an oink.

In far corners, I dubbed the mouths of others,
their new voices outbattling the clattering gunnery of plates
slamming down organic everythings.
I gifted one woman berating her phone the French language
to make her all the more endurable.
Sweet as raw cane sugar to my fair trade coffee,
I had the young couple across from me nattering fondly
from their deathbeds; their soon-to-be-left world
better off now than it was when they were younger.

The child in the high chair wanted in on the action,
breaking into L’enfant et les sortilèges when faced
with a spoonload of non-GMO beige matter.
I used a sortilege of my own in stripping the walls clean
and emblazoning the newspaper headlines all
over them to see if anyone would notice, remark, question
that one glaring absence as Truth was led out the back,
strung up by its hind legs, throat slit, left to hang there
until the last drop of blood spattered into the bucket.

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NEIL McCARTHY hails from the southern tip of Ireland, but has spent the last decade flitting between Vienna and Los Angeles. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies all over the world and have also been translated and published in Romania, Hungary and Serbia. Neil has performed solo and with musicians at multiple Fringe festivals, embassies, literary events, and his debut collection Stopgap Grace is a culmination of ten years' of travelling and working while casting a sometimes poignant, sometimes critical eye on the island he left behind.

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