The scalpels rattle in the wooden box
as you gently set it beside the slab.
The body lies with forelegs drooping,
hooves resting just above its chest.
The first incision starts at the base of the
breastbone. You slowly cut towards the tail,
not letting the blade bite too deep,
careful not to spill the blood that remains.
As you drag the blade you feel the weight
of the bag of potato-flour in your pocket,
pressing against your leg, waiting to be
scattered over the newly-exposed flesh,
waiting to soak up the moisture that
indicates that life was once present here,
that this shape was once more than just
a cold and motionless lump of meat.
Once, these tendons shortened and pulled
at these muscles, which themselves contracted
and caused these bones to dance in complex
harmony and push this now -still form over
spitting turf and past the screaming crowd at
record speed under a crisp November sky. Once.
The winnings still linger in the bank accounts
of the prudent, but the dance is over for good.
This is where you come in. Your job is to
remind observers of the life that now has
left this form, to capture the essence that is
now departed, relying only on cold metal,
a sculptor's eye and the sturdy backs of the
three men who watch you closely as you begin
to peel the hide from blue-grey muscle,
unwrapping that which God himself has wrapped.