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John Estes



If there’s a kindness
similar to milk, 
it better be the raw kind,
pulled straight from
a vein-throbbed
taut and bloated udder
nutrients intact,
illegal to sell
unless, like us,
you have anarchist-
green-grocers who keep
a local-food shop
where it’s kept,
when available,
in the dairy case
in unmarked bottles.

So that I may hope,
do good and
dwell on the earth—
the sole demands
if boiled down the galactic 
grammatic I-Am
saw fit to impose—
give me this brand
of beefy care, 
grass-fed preferred,
so I might be
strong to give it.
But if I must settle,
as most often
I must, I’ll take it
pasteurized but
heated and fortified
as legislated
but left in need 
of shaking.



John Estes teaches at the University of Missouri and is poetry editor of Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Circumference, LIT, West Branch, Notre Dame Review, and others. His chapbook, Breakfast with Blake at the Laocoön, is available from Finishing Line Press.

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