Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Wellingborough Abattoir

Lela sat with her skirt punched into a basin, cradling a cottage ham, a loaf of three-day-old bread and a quiver of beef’s tongue. She fed the bread to the pigeons, a mad frenzy of gray black heads, three or five birds overtaking the others, the ham she cut into small slices, rolling each piece in a quiver of blood rich tongue, then placing a napkin on her basined skirt, she ate each mouthful as if it were her last. When Lela was a girl her grandmamma made her eat beef tongue for breakfast, cracking her on the shoulders when she came up for air or slopped a quiver onto the floor. Her grandmamma bought pigs’ tongue from the Courrires Piggery, a family-run slaughterhouse in Nord-Pas-de-Calais not far from the Wellingborough Abattoir in Northamptonshire, where sows, piglets and suckling’s were butchered in outdoor slaughter pens. The daughter of the owner of the Wellingborough Abattoir, Cleopatra (she was named after Cleopatra VII Philopator as a warranty against her father meeting his demise from a snakebite), wore kidskin slaughter-gloves specially crafted for her by the Vincennes Glove and Scarf Company, oftentimes mistaking her abattoir gloves for her Sunday going to church gloves, causing a riot among the congregants of the Church of the Perpetual Sinner where her father was an elder and her younger brother an altar boy.

1 comment:

John W. MacDonald said...

pass on the 3-day-old bread but pass the quiver of beef’s tongue, please.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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