poem #20

The other day, I got caught up in an ethics lecture, saying,
“Suppose a cannibal’s wife, full of pregnancy and
large with bursting breasts and belly,
has a stillborn as she enters labor.
Mr. Cannibal says, ‘Delicious!
What a tremendous mistake!
Mind if I wash her down
with a sip of colostrum?’
What should we think?
Let us say she acquiesces.
He begins nibbling,
sharing with his wife,
suckling her breasts,
holding some milk in his mouth,
kissing her, and dropping into her mouth
her own milk to compliment the meal.
Certainly, we have moved beyond
good taste, yes, but is the story
offensive to cannibals?
And does that matter?
Or are cannibals, like Nazis,
a group to whom we can attribute any evil
without self-reflective worry, morally speaking?
Of course we must analyze the evocation of ‘evil,’
but so what? I wish only to say, here we have man and wife
feasting on child, glugging on mother’s milk, and isn’t it
the least bit
My professor
said to me, “No.”
– Kirstin O’Connor
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