I do not know your name
a number, perhaps
One zero one one zero one one
Or were you merely Miss F. catus?
burning nose and eyes
veins and arteries dyed
red for arteries
veins are blue
Rigor and mortis claim your skin
Eyes rolled back; jaw locked
Did you have friends?
Whiskers and fur still intact
Two eyes, two ears
and a mouth
Elegant arching of the back
Latex and metal
My scalpel is sharp
Dermis breaks; flesh peels away
You are dead; cannot feel
What is the logic makes this okay?
For what reason did you die, do you know?
Is it for the same reason you were born?
Cells, tissues, bones, and viscera
Killed for a cause beyond your grasp
Were you dead when you were injected?
Did you feel any pain?
Were you scared? Did you hiss, claw, bite?
Did they wait for the euthanasia to take effect before your fluids were drained?
In another life, you might have been a pet
Stroked, named, adored to that effect
You lay skinless now, eyes still wide
Each muscle separated and defined
A specimen of science
A child of the earth
A living creature
Animalia chordata mammalia carnivora
A miracle of birth
Please don’t be angry, feel no pain, no strife
Your death was not entirely in vain
From the sum of your parts we gain an understanding
A clue to the vast mystery of life
And maybe one day
No more cats will have to die
Poem ended up there. Author's comment (apparently too wordy) goes here.
True story. In my bio lab on Monday, I was forced to do the unthinkable. I was forced to skin a cat. Now, see here, I'm not squeamish, not one bit. I would have been fine had my specimen been a human. I have pet cat at home. I understand that research and study are necessary, but this experience really made me consider the ethics of the science I love.
I understand completely that I am not a good poet. I don't even really write poetry. My rhyme scheme is wack and my words could have been more carefully chosen, but the deep sorrow and compassion that drove me to write this tribute, not only for this specific cat, but for every animal that must live to die for science, is not at all lacking.
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