Sympathy

By Lucy A. Snyder

Sympathy evolved peripherally,

a selective way to keep the tribe alive

through the secondhand pangs of trial,

tributaries of tribulation shared by blood,

our hardwired love of Rover and Fluffy just

a shadow of family need in the genes.

But what if we could feel the meat we eat,

taste the fatal throes ol' Bossie endured

as the butcher put a sledge to her head?

What if every whitemeat nugget sliding

greasy down our throats held a grindhouse

flash of Chicken Little, debeaked and choked?

Would we shun personalized burgers

to favor the flavor of fruits and grains?

Would we eagerly flee from carnivory,

ban the slaughter and celebrate salad,

glorify veggies, their tales of pain too dull;

no yardman names the blades he mows.

But righteous sadists might dictate diets of woe:

priests would curse the sins in mother's milk

and tell their flocks to feed the babies Bambi.

Hardening souls for a Heavenly shine, pious

soldiers would savor Apocalyptic glory

in the soylent flesh of every blessed enemy.


Lucy A. Snyder studied to become a biologist, trained to become a journalist, and now provides tech support for a very large university. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of print and electronic publications, including Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Guardian Angels, Villains Victorious, and Masques V; you can also see some of it in our archives.