I opted for the vegetarian menu

Psalm 66:10-16

For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.

Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.

Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,

Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.

I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

The priest was tall, almost elegant, slim,

Standing tall the full length of his spine, 

With a distinguished touch of gray in his beard.

Gestures and smile to match.

He looked almost a bishop with a bright red robe, 

Quite unlike most of the other Nepali men I’d met.

Rama told us to remain inside

For the puja. She sounded rather mysterious.

It was early. The new sun cast 

Long shadows across the yard

Close to the chicken coop.

Wooden table draped in white plastic 

Fire growling in a pit.

All ordered by her order.

I heard the cry of the animal.

It took me to the window

To watch his feet be tied,

Kicking hind legs immobilized, 

Then laid against the plastic covered table 

And a swift knife.

It was over quickly.

He was hung by the rope that had made him an easy victim.

His blood draining into a pink plastic pail.

An acolyte in a white apron 

Finished preparing him for the fire.

The Tibetans had made it illegal to kill so close to His Holiness

Even with holy intent.

What I had witnessed was technically a crime, but it seemed

Quite ordinary for first century Jerusalem.

I was complicit.

The immediate cause of the trouble requiring expiation 

Was my friend Carter,

The handsome ethnobotanist

With a collection of insect eating plants.

He’d trapped

Pinguicula, Drosera, Dionaea and Sarracenia,

Fancy names for tricking insects into their poison pantry.

Not to sound too exotic--

He just walked into a shop in Chandigarh, and paid rupees,

But still it's the most exotic thread in this tale.

He complained about the washroom. It always smelled of shit.

There was a fight. He was expelled. I was never to mention 

The name Carter.

The Venus fly trap would have to kill flies in the washroom of a hostel below 

Where Temple Road meets another path down to Dasha.

Roaming the meat department at Safeway

The difference in price on the tags pasted onto 

The plastic wrap of meat laid out on the white plastic

Trays belie that the animal once lived. 

But little other evidence remains of

The cries of a live animal.

When the feast was laid out after the puja

I noticed that there was still singed hair on the skin

Of the legs that I’d seen kicking at the end.

I opted for the vegetarian menu.


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