Alexandra Umlas
Alexandra Umlas is the author of At the Table of the Unknown  (Moon Tide Press). You can find her work in Rattle, Poetry Super Highway, and Cultural Weekly, among others. She serves as a reader for Palette Poetry and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from California State University, Long Beach and an M.Ed. in Cross-cultural Education.


Unwrapping you from your reasonable
packaging, I always feel some remorse

and carry your body tenderly to the pot
to lay you on your bed of citrus and sliced

onions, and pepper your skin with salt.
One time, I reached inside you to find

a neck and two hearts, unsure if any
were yours. There are over nine billion

of you alive, and still, each time I hold
you almost whole like this, slumped

and singular, like a small, cold baby,
your body goose-pimpled and clean,

I imagine your short, sharp journey
to here, seven weeks to market weight,

the assembly-line suspension
by two feet and low lighting, the stun

of electricity or carbon-dioxide,
a rub-bar on your breast, a single cut

to the throat, evisceration, chilling,
giblets sorted, your body

bagged. I heat you past your original
temperature to 165 degrees Fahrenheit,

until joints loosen, and bones turn
velvet. And after I have swallowed you,

in the dish-filled evening kitchen, I find
I am alone.

 2019 Alexandra Umlas
Alexandra Umlas was a Featured Poet at the July 2019 Second Sunday Poetry Series