Cold Cuts

Tonight, I heard
a surgeon whisper:

the things that live
inside us often spoil.

Flesh surrounds
what must decay,

so what to with
all who are sick?

In dreams, I’ve seen
the butcher sell pounds

of his own son to men
who prayed to be reborn

as knives, windows, still,
I will not know their hurt.

The body drains for days
before the marrow rivers away,

when hollow becomes holy,
but did I hear that from

the room next door, or somewhere
past these yawning hallways?

William Ward Butler is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He’s an editor for Chinquapin, the longest-running literary magazine at UCSC, and a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in NightBlock, Glitterwolf Magazine, Catamaran Literary Reader, and Weave. Find him online at

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