They enter slowly in twos, pairs of kids and cattle.
Once in the center of the ring the auctioneer begins his call,
and one of them knows that this will be all.
The buyers and lookers on stare and see only the other and
how much meat it holds on its bones—they bid by the pound.
It is over too soon. In the eyes of the children one seems
to detect a failed stoicism; it’s not a pet they’ve been told
before, it’s how we earn our bread. We wouldn’t have the
things we have if we didn’t sell them, let them go.
Still, the eyes betray them. They are giving up a
being they have raised for cash, a cold trade for
a living, breathing mass of flesh and heart and bone.
Rays of light shine though the windows near the ceiling,
catching motes that seem to loll idly down an unseen street,
kept aloft by the commerce within; they will settle later.