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You watch as a fork and knife are slipped into the depth of the cooked veal, and you are reminded of original sin. You hear the tender voice of your high school religion teacher, carnal comes from carne, meaning flesh. You imagine the meat from the head of the calf being pressed into the pot with jelly. This is called brawn. You imagine the shaved skin, ligaments still attached to bone, a sinewy mixture boiling in a covered pot that is the size of your longest limb. Refusing to be contained, it bubbles over, the violent clatter, pot-to-top-to-top-to-pot-to-top, the water sizzling as it hits the flame underneath. You imagine the knife at the sacrificial alter, cutting into the virgin to wake the sun. You imagine the children struck by American drones in Pakistan. You imagine all of the ways we have justified killing.

Excerpted from Hollow Blossoms

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