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On Cooking a Symbol at 400 Degrees

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I butterflied Australian rack of lamb
with shallots, garlic, parsley, butter, wine
(some in the pan, some for the palate).
Although the livestock loved in nursery rhyme
avoided clumps of mint, it served my family
nonetheless. I am no PETA zealot
(leather jacket, handbag, wallet, shoes)
but wonder if the deeds we do pursue
us in the afterlife. Does the fleecy
creature have a tenderable claim?
My lambent mind considers our short lease
on life, the oven hot. Am I to blame?
Who gave thee such a tender voice? asked Blake.
Myself am Hell. I watch the mutton bake.

Source: Poetry (February 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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On Cooking a Symbol at 400 Degrees

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