David Summerfield is a graduate of Frostburg State University, Maryland, and a veteran of the Iraq war. He has been an editor, columnist, and contributor to various publications within his home state of West Virginia. His work has appeared or is due to appear in The Journal of Expressive Writing, Door Is A Jar Literary Magazine, Carmina Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and El Portal (EUNM) Literary Journal.


Trigger Warning

Autumn, distant hills splotched in red, yellow, and shiny orange
Under a bright yellow sun

As I went along the highway, I passed a large red barn
I noticed through a window a dimly lit bulb hanging from a cord
Lighting the inside

I slowed my car as if something were in the road

In the pale naked light, I could see a cow’s carcass
Slung from the rafters on a meat hook
A man dressed in coveralls scraping at its entrails

As the smell of manure wafted through my window
Another cow stood outside shivering violently
It was not so cold for an animal to be shivering violently
When it was still warm enough
To smell the dung

I had a thought, and realized the cow was conscious
Of impending death as I would be

That’s what it must be like I imagined, to be on death row
As my mind drifted back into the hills
And I went on down the road

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