Bonus Cut Poetry: “On Being Vegetarian” by Abby Conklin


This is Bonus Cut Poetry, a series that features original poems by Bonus Cut staff, artists and YOU! In this series, our mission is to bring people together in poetry, share stories and display wonderful artistic pieces. If you would like to have your poems in the next Bonus Cut Poetry installment, just email us at

This installment features Bonus Cut’s own Abby Conklin.

On Being Vegetarian 
By: Abby Conklin 

I took pliers and a nut cracker
to a lobster for the first time
the night of my twenty-second birthday.
Turned out more violent
than I’d thought it would, shattering
the bone-red carapace in order
to stab at freckled meat
with forked needles so sharp
they stuck me too.  Shards
of shell flying, guts clumsily
leaking onto paper plates.
Scrambling to keep the claws clear
of the intestinal green gunk.
“What’s the white stuff sheathing
the meat, Mum?  Fear turned lactic
acid?”  “No, Abby, we’re different
from lobsters.  Mammals
are different.”  She gripped
the tail, slit its tender belly up
the middle.  As if gutting
its legs hadn’t done job enough.
I held its abdomen, its head, while
she worked, torn-in-two spider
from the bottom of the ocean.
Felt dragged at by the heft
of the creature’s life turned
unbearably hot, tightness
moving bile through my chest.
I ate the tail slowly, pulling
white shreds free and trying
them in butter; congealed
yellow costuming in ramekins.
I couldn’t taste the animal
I was eating, but I kept chewing,
appearances.  Went home,
slept badly.  The next night,
there were haddock filets
for supper.

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