Treasure Island

Max Reif

(1948 / OVER 400 POEMS SERVED! !)

The Ethics of Lunch


Pulling apart the plastic package
that enclosed the turkey slices,
I tore off a few for my lunch
and returned the rest to the package,
placing it back in the box
that also contained
one of steak slices
and another of ham.

I thought of the millions
of animals who die for us each day,
then of the films I recently saw
showing a big, placid cow
getting stunned by a mechanical bludgeon
and rolled onto a conveyor belt
for butchering. I thought

of all that is hidden as I peel open
my neat, little bag of sliced food,
and wondered, carrying the plastic box
back to the fridge, what I would do

if it was people
say, the lowest classes of society,
judged expendable and bred
for this purpose — whose sliced
flesh wound up in my deli drawer?

Would I do more than stop
and think about it for a moment,
as though about some abstract question,

before going on with my day?


(.......10sept)

Submitted: Monday, September 10, 2007
Edited: Wednesday, April 06, 2011

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Comments about this poem (The Ethics of Lunch by Max Reif )

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  • Tara very irritated with PH injustice (9/12/2007 7:43:00 AM)

    There are reasons why I'm vegetarian. There are also reasons why I'm not a cannibal (apart from little things like legality) . Can't help but stop and think at this one Max - expertly penned, one of those self-observational pieces you do so engagingly. t x (Report) Reply

  • Ted Sheridan (9/11/2007 10:18:00 AM)

    Solvent Green? One of my favorite movies and one reason why I never eat pea soup. (Report) Reply

  • Original Unknown Girl (9/10/2007 10:44:00 AM)

    A most interesting poem Max and interesting that the whole process of making your sarnie brought this to you for a bit of room for thought. I agree with Adria (again today) yes it's the darn steroids and crap that we have to eat that must be the problem. Being veggie is fine but somehow meat just tastes so much scrummier... you just have to be selective AND responsible on what you buy! Other than that - carnivores are us! ! HG: -) xx (Report) Reply

  • Scarlett Treat (9/10/2007 10:29:00 AM)

    WOW! That is all that I can think right at this moment...is WOW...I am totally overwhelmed by this one! WOW, it took my words away. (Report) Reply

Read all 4 comments »

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