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Unrepentant Confessions of Mammals Consuming

by LA Felleman

to be mammal is to be teeth in flesh

dependent on other lives to survive

everyday plowing another field under

with identical seeds scythed short,

cropped close to grain’s home ground,

harvested with a sigh to survive

the apologies Grass Nation

you were meant to be seeding

your own evolving instead

you are ground for us to rise

rueful remorse

we promise to eat you, advisedly

mindful that to be mammal is

to survive by othering lives


green things othered,

raising up mammals to depend

scent of what you grew in

sigh of how you could have grown

spring of successive unfurling

large to the point of firming

green things enfleshed

then passing on to mush—

points we dare to deny you—

stunting your growth to fuel ours.

mammals survive by springing

sorrow so sorry

we pledge to eat you, regrettably

expanding into our girth


expand in/through red branching

flavor of flowers that birthed you

borne at the end of your branches

carrying inside you a forest

prevented from touching down

deepest despair

flesh in clenched teeth of mammals

sorry for teeming health taken

plucked like a gift meant for Abel

torn open by an envious Cain

we expose how grabbing marks us

take an oath, we will eat you in mindfulness

marked as mammals torn

we can never be too much


there can never be too much praising

cheer of orange-yellow kin

your color is a smile throughout

your smell is a sweetness within

mammals need

orange-yellow family sensing

in mammals teeth

the sweetest desiring

your rind, your sections so easily rent

resigned to pulling you piecemeal

like a gin preparing cotton for spinning

our favored method became dissecting

continual contrition

we cross our hearts, hope to die to eat you


hope to die dissection became us

purple-blue alien strangers

otherworldly out of our ordinary

we press to learn secrets

contained behind your skin

mammals teething purple-blue

strange selectively skinned

life extended beyond natural

we truth to tell to eat you

let us speak the truth into you

we only tolerate differences

othered for survival

steepest shame

when novels tantalize


we solely tolerate the tantalizing

white-brown family

you who converse in earth tones

metallic mineral mud notes

teeth mammals marked

repetitive resignation

forgive these transgressions

we own we survive by

: shaking you down

: cracking your shells

: breaking your halves

: scraping you void

: leaving you husks

we hand to God to eat you


by our hands, left halved, hunks

our own meat kind

strength of our strength

blood in our blood

mammals stalking

always apologizing

we acknowledge our plans

to prepare to our liking

: mammals enflesh the horror

recipe to slice

reduced to bite size

numb to your pain to be

dismembered from ours

we swear to God to eat you


swearing before our maker

designer of all we can

sorry such sorrow


created to be sacrificers

eaters of the unnumbered

survivors of others

of the same creator

taught to mouth guilt as

: teeth contemptible

a litany of contents

to the One contemplating

every hue we consume

still pardoning the unconvertable

Currently, LA is a financial analyst at the University of Iowa. Before that, she was a seminary professor. Prior to that, she was a pastor. She credits the Free Generative Writing Workshops, the Midwest Writing Center, and workshops offered through Iowa City Poetry with her growth as a poet. To give back to the writing community, she organizes a writers open mic at the public library (or via Zoom during pandemics) and serves on the advisory council of Iowa City Poetry. She is the author of the chapbook, The Length of a Clenched Fist, from Finishing Line Press, and blogs at


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