The flavor of blood is evident

in meat—no matter the kind of meat:

turkey meat

chicken meat

pork meat


meat—no matter the amount of salt

it won’t cover up



chewing each fibered

morsel tender, carful

not to bite bones—grinding

meat in clenched

teeth, swallowing—



the meat came from somewhere else—

someone else hacked it—

we didn’t have to watch, so we chew,

forgetting until the metallic iodine

salty blood hits the tastebuds and we chew




ignore the plasma on the tongue, pretend

it wasn’t once

a bird

a cow

a deer

an elk




that would cluck or suck-

up slop in the fields


forget it once had


a face

a mother

a dream—



while giving thanks

sitting around thanksgiving

tables with thanksgiving

forks thanksgiving

knifes digging into thanksgiving


thank the soul with the life

stolen from it—its carcass

slipped between

lips to a grinning





© All Rights Reserved Caroline Adele O’Brien



Death sneaks in like an old lady in her bathroom slippers—her silver hair tied up in curlers, robe flowing torrents behind her, she tiptoes through shopping malls in this old-western-America—a gunslingin’ grandma in her pink freshly fluffed slippers, slept-in curlers flopping on her forehead—the shoppers’ll never suspect a little old lady—it’s christmas time death’s hungry for a feast and no one expects an old lady in her bathrobe to slip a .44 from her bathrobe pocket, pop-off a few kids in the food court while they wolf down burritos and pizza, blood dripping into their high-fructose corn-syrup fizzy-pop beverages to fizzzzzzz fizzz out

Pins in her footsteps she detours east curlers falling about her blood-lust eyes, breaks a window of a nursery school with her knitting needles—enters in through the office and BAM-KaBANG! the school nurse falters backward clutching her heart—the grandma grins her upturned jowls and SLURP! laps up blood then turns for more—the children duck beneath desks too late—BAM! BANG! KaBANG! gushing blood flows across the floor ’til—Ka-RACK! The vacuumed classroom life falls—

Still—bathrobe hiked up she crawls back through the glass to wander America, pay the south a visit—finds a rippled ice rink full of twirling skaters sipping hot chocolate and cider through straws as they glide in-out-in-out from the center of the rink they grip one another for support—granny glides across the ice in slippers curlers falling around her eyes the clasps snap-pop! open silver hair tumbling out blood-shot-eyes wild and POP!—the first one down, the others scream—crashing into ice from fallen skate, slicing up the ice with razors and BAM! the glowing red ice pulses the last life of drip! No one suspects a little old lady in a bathrobe

And when her feast is over her belly bulging from all the blood she slides down into her covers dormant for another few days—’til the news cries out on-air pleading for more telling the world granny is a hero telling the world granny should rein supreme; death is a good bedtime story after all, one to tell the kids when they’re all snuggled down in their nightcaps covers pulled up to their chins—and when the kids on the street curled in trashcans beg for mercy—when schools and shopping malls once again thrive with life—when people no longer suspect a little old lady in her bathrobe with her curlers and her pink fluffy slippers—when the hunger starts again and her belly churns the blood rumbles and quakes—her blood-born eyes open to stir in the covers the media blanketed her with.

© All Rights Reserved Caroline Adele O’Brien