“To serve man” by Megan Boatright

“It’s a cookbook!” – The Twilight Zone

I. Entropy

The sick obsession of mother for child:
there are a lot of things that will gladly eat a human infant.
Every year, four women watch chimpanzees
suck their babies’ heads like a pale fruit. Their copper screams.

The problem with the in-car safari
is the familiarity of your own car. You know
exactly how fast you’d have to run your Stanza over
the Serengeti reproduction to shake that cheetah.

Our best consolation is the knowledge that
as Jessica’s chubby legs flapped around a dingo’s neck,
hurrying towards a lost center of heat,
the animal probably wasn’t singing.

II. Homeostasis

50 years after the last of us lies gasping
in an abandoned Wal-Mart, broken glasses
somewhere around the canned-food aisle,
there will be kudzu and housecats.

We do not expect better: tabbies, ruling the rainforest
dioramas in every abandoned Nissan, remembering
to eat the afterbirth, mounting purebred Persians
and breeding out their sour faces; most of us
can imagine being eaten by our cats. Sucked cold
after opening their last cans of wet food.

Chinchillas will find a way back to the mountains,
hop the Andes with our jingle bells around their feet.
Hamsters eating dead birds in the desert.
While other birds grow uncomfortably large
on dachshunds and munchkin cats, iguanas shivering through Brooklyn.
Everything we bred the animal out of, the last
to mourn us, the blistered sphinxes rising towards the sun.


Megan Boatright is a graduate student in comparative literature at the University of Chicago, concentrating in critical animal studies. Her work has appeared in ditch, flashquake, Word For/Word, and Short, Fast, and Deadly.
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