One member of the clan, in this case the female, labours
for several hours in the preparation of sustenance
required by the family unit on the symbolic seventh day.
A heated box lights a section of animal corpse –
the release of vapours leads to verbal expressions
of a positive olfactory response from younger members
[immature adults] who then migrate, having only just woken,
back to the upper layers of the territory to occupy themselves
with small lit boxes activated by quick moving digits.
As the meal’s protein component transforms
into a brown leaking-piece the individual,
[in this observation a female called Hazel]
removes the outer skins of roots pulled from their outdoor habitat,
and trims green growths (rejecting those with small life forms)
in readiness for a timed scalding in metal pots of hydration fluid.
As she prepares she listens, via a small electrical appliance,
to a fictional community performing a worship
in their settlement’s religious structure, not so very far away.
She peels a thin layer off the secondary nourishment,
and puts small uniform pieces of the white flesh into a ceramic dish
with a sprinkle of a white granular substance –
and this in turn is covered with a crumb of fat and gluten powder
[the assembly of which requires skill and dexterity]
before it is sacrificed to the hot box, without ceremony.
The final fluster of activity, to bring all elements together,
is accomplished with the urgent summonsing of off-spring
achieved by a series of bangs on a copper disc.
The appearance of the spouse [Joe]
is met with an aggressive glance
but he deflects a verbal onslaught
by the production of a slim glass container
from which he pulls a wooden plug
and pours a portion of red fluid into a large drinking vessel
which he presents to his mate, brushing her hot cheek
with the external margins of his eating orifice, before striking
an exaggerated pose with a carving implement
and slicing the animal corpse with a smile.
Sarah J Bryson is a poet and hospice nurse. She runs occasional poetry workshops, and more regularly she works in care homes as part of a project taking poetry into residential care. Her poetry has been placed in competitions and published in anthologies, in journals and on line.