MAY 2009


By Edmund Sandoval, Feb 20, 2009

The butcher puts on his smock, his apron. He opens the door to the deep freeze and looks over the meat hanging on hooks, stacked in rows on the shelves. He walks to a bin of tenderloin and runs his hands over them. The meat is cold, hard. Familiar. He looks at his hands, blue-gray now in the freezer, the scars from his knife raised and white.

He thinks about his knife. Its rubber handle, the blade he sharpens in front of the TV every Sunday evening before work. He thinks of how it cuts. How true. Without discriminating.

He thinks of the job, the repetition of his hand, his knife, the shapes of the meat he cuts and wraps in white paper. He thinks and starts to the task.

Wood Pile Bird
By Edmund Sandoval, Feb 20, 2009

There’s a turkey by the wood pile, next to the splitting stump that has the maul in it, the blade heavy and dull. The turkey’s dead and when I first saw it I thought it was a hawk—it was the feathers, dusky brown and white. My brother said, Nope, that’s a turkey. It’s been there for months but nothing will eat it. It must’ve been sick.

I wanted to move the turkey, to fling it into the field with the tall yellow grass. Grass that’s spindly and cutting. I pick up the maul and wind up to hit the bird but my brother stops me. No, he says. No.

Edmund Sandoval lives in Southern Illinois. He enjoys a bit of everything. He tends toward bourbon. He likes a marathon and a quiet room.