‘The butcher’s daughter’ by Petra Kamula

The butcher’s daughter

I wake early, begin before the sun
tips itself red onto my hands.

Hush, I’ve learnt the songs I must sing
to you heifers and your calves. I’m already

well acquainted with blood.
Clots and stains as thick as tongues.

It’s a language the boys in the yards
have yet to discover in fluency:

I carry it in brim-lipped cups.
I put my mouth to your warm flanks

inhale your memories
of cud, seeds and grassrows.

Smell the shudder of sweat that comes
hot in the moments before death,

how it bounces back from my night-bare skin
and the hard press of the clay floor.
(previously published in University of East Anglia’s MA Creative Writing anthology – Four Poets, 2011)

Petra Kamula is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry Review, Lighthouse and Magma. She is currently based in Sydney, Australia where she enjoys salt water, avoids sharks and works in social sustainability. Twitter @PetraKamula