(Since we’re in the PNG mood…)
The first thwack shimmers through
the Papua New Guinea humidity
and it is surpassed by his screams
that rise over the green palm
trees and kaukau plants.
It’s not over for him, unwilling participant
in a final performance meant to shock me
while proclaiming cultural pride.
The wooden club flies toward its target
and the screams erupt again.
It is almost more than my sheltered
life can take. I come from a place
where my bacon has always been bacon,
bearing no resemblance to the snout \
and hooves it once sported.
But here I am watching my dinner
wail as his wild eyes seek
out the dark eyes of his attacker
and look for sympathy. There is
none. My tears are not welcome here.
Finally the show ends, and the one who walks
upright with the bloodied club smiles,
his teeth stained with the redness
of the buwai plant in an empty face.
My face is empty too.
Later we eat our meal together in
the central clearing of the village,
after the loser has been steamed
underground for eight hours,
light animals and dark animals
slain by our own bestiality.