The Interns

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
A sestina. The day is happy,/with the sun shining and birds chirping, the pigs/grunting in their cart, waiting to die,

Submitted: December 20, 2014

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Submitted: December 20, 2014



The day is happy,

with the sun shining and birds chirping, the pigs

grunting in their cart, waiting to die,

to be hoisted by their legs and thrown into the waiting box.

The lid will be closed, the CO2 pumped in, and the interns

will make sure the pigs suffocate until they are serene and ready


for the knife of a quiet immigrant worker, ready

for lunch, humming in her place on the slaughter-line. She is happy

with her place in life – not an intern

but a full-time worker, turning pigs

into just pork that will be packaged and boxed

and shipped – just meat now, just dead.


The grocery store is dead,

in the middle of a mid-afternoon slump. A family gets ready

for dinner. Mom is searching for Box

Tops for Education for her happy

schoolchildren. Dad stops to say, “That’s a good looking pig,”

and grabs a pre-cooked spiral ham, interned


by shrink-wrap. Their son just got a fancy internship,

and tonight they will celebrate the death

of his childhood and eat like pigs

until they are stuffed miserably full, all of them ready

for a peaceful sleep. They will be happy

and content, and after dinner, the son will start to box


up clothes and memories and the poster of the boxer

his dad always watches on TV. He wonders if the intern

house will have cable, and suddenly he’s not so happy

and content, that moment withering and dying

like an animal sacrificed to the blade of a knife. Already,

his days of living like a pig –


lazy and full and taken care of by smiling pig

farmers – are over. He doesn’t know about the CO2 box

that creeps and kills, and when it doesn’t, the knives ready

to be raked across the throats of squirming pigs by squeamish interns,

until the toes of their boots are red with blood and the pig is dead,

ready to be made into just pork for happy


families. He feels piggish and ashamed; the internship

will be worth it, even without cable. He closes his last box,

no longer feeling ready for the future.

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