The Ethics Of Lunch - Poem by Max Reif
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?
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