CARCASS / Madrid, New Mexico
from Out Here Death Is No Big Deal


My girl and I walk into the café. No, that’s not how it begins. We were in an old mining town. Coal in the soul of every angry body we met. That’s how it feels, hauling up the corpses of dinosaurs every day. Carcass. That’s what made us hungry, the memory of flesh, too long dead to still be angry. Just a piece of meat. No other women around, just us, and so we toed the road. The only road leads to the café and we ate it fast. Ankles in the dirt, boots in the long black mud, we ate up that long hungry road to the café and there’s a man inside said sit right down just anywhere really, I’ll find you, just take a seat where you want, ladies, nothing to worry about, and he wiped intestines off his knife and onto his apron and there was blue calico tossed like tarps as far as we could see over tables. My girl says, What’s that smell, she says, she touches my arm, my wrist, and as always my small fur stands up for her, and she holds on. What is that odor? It is not appetizing.


The man calls out, Sit where you want, he calls out. Ladies. He is re-sharpening his knife. Sit where you want, I’ll find you. My girl holds onto my wrists, it smells in here, she grasps my neck in her fingers, it stinks. This smell, this blood red fear smell is something rotten, or maybe just unwashed. Sit yourselves down, he says, ladies. On the blue oilcloth calico are long strands of hair with the roots still on. You ladies, he says, you ladies sit down where you please, he says, I always find my ladies. It smells of flesh and death and he must not have let her wash first, that must be it.


A man walks in. He has a face of a stirrup. Too many feet have put themselves there – wedged in his face is the look of it, and he turns his head and he has an eyepatch. There is a purple stain down the side, a slice, it’s a cut, a bash, a gash, stew’s gonna be good, he says to the other man, he doesn’t see us, the bitch got it, she got it and my friend – sometimes people call her that – she stands beside me and she says it stinks in here, it is rotting, whatever he wants to feed us it is rotten and it smells. She winds her fingers through the fur between my legs. There in her hands is my seashore, my gums of a cat, but out here is a dead thing, a bloated udder, a piece of meat, she’s been cut and killed. The man fingers his eyepatch. He sees us with his eye. He says, I gave it to her and the bitch took it.

Let’s leave, she says, I don’t like how I feel here.


The butcher doesn’t say a word. He is in the back behind the calico curtain covered in strips of skin and the man with the eyepatch, he sees us. With his eye, he fixes us, he says, I’ll fix you, bitches, we put your kind in ditches and from behind the curtain the butcher laughs overtop the sound a throat makes trying to draw air through a tunnel filled with blood. It stinks, my girlfriend says. She and I are the only women in town. She digs her claws through the shoulders of my black leather jacket and she flies up and she carries us away. Ladies, he says from down below, our long strands of hair in his hands, with the roots still on.