barbeque ribs by Ziyi Yan
your ribs, fingering the clinging
meat rack by rack, selecting a prime
cut for picnic lunch, still
raw, bouncing with fleshy aliveness of a
in the ebony heat until you shrivel,
plum seeping tart juices–
purple bloodstains on the kitchen floor,
until the bones are smooth as a science-class skeleton bleached to untarnished porcelain–
is the first taste of remorse.
into the rhythm of throbbing, dull knife sawing
through ruby-red flesh–
there’s a visceral glory in moving one muscle to make another
sinewy fibers tortured into marbled pasture-raised
until every muscle withers,
chalky sinew gurgling misty-eyed refractions before
to bitter coals.
into your unrendered porcelain, scaly creases
cracking like a china bowl,
pick up the shards that your blue-green veins might bloom to painted cobalt flowers,
knives on the checkered floor–
red and white, bloodstains and lard stained bowl,
baby-backs still jiggling.
rack by rack, stretching the
stomach until ribs burst to slimy entrails,
emaciated arm cranking the
ropes splintering like
tendons snapping like rubber bands
with every bite,
tears moist against ant-infested wood,
pleas fat with senseless simile,
your law cares nothing for mercy.
up the bone-white shards and shrug a sweater over that flowery dress–
your guests will be waiting and it’s a nice hot day–
so pull out that textbook smile
under a sun of melted butter.