Small Differences

Riley Logan

The sound of laughter and smiles
are muffled
as the sorrowful silence chokes us.

The crowd, crying out injustices,
is hustled from the barn.
When the placenta covered calf finally emerges,
there is no newborn cry or
Something is wrong.

He is hung over the barred metal fence like
a piece of veal at a butcher's shop.
The veterinarians say it was CPR.
But I believe it was a desperate attempt.

The glint in his newborn eye dulls,
colorful curtains cast aside,
left in the sun too long.

After the death is confirmed he is
hastily thrown into a wheelbarrow.
I am assigned to dispose of him.

I tuck a tarp around his
delicate, newborn body
a blue blanket identifying his gender
and yet his death.
So I wheel him through the large, tin doors
through the gates of heaven.

Sorrowful faces look on as the horde of people
drop to silence faster than
my stomach.
The fair has been transformed from a lively, cultural place
to a somber one
in a matter of seconds.

The fair is now a funeral
The Beatles softly crooning
"Let it be".

I approach the ivory 2005 Chevrolet pick up
and the Hispanic men smoking in the back of the truck
stare at me
through eyes that have seen
much death.
The men glide down the side of the truck and literally toss the calf into the
bed of the pick up truck.
The crowd gasps,
but the men are not phased.

A blanket is tossed upon him messily,
and I feel as if I should clamber into the back of the truck and fix the calf's position,
so it looks as if he were in a
deep slumber.

The exhaust of the men's departure signals
a chorus of laughter and smiles
as if nothing has happened.

As if a mother had not just lost her
first born.

I then realize

I cannot fix every calf hastily thrown into the bed of an ivory 2005 Chevrolet pick up truck.
I cannot prevent all of the deaths in the world
or not.

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