Rise Up Review
HomeArchiveFound/ErasedAboutHow to SubmitSupporting the Cause

God of Luck 

On December 2, 2003, a one and a half year-old Hereford steer ran away from a slaughterhouse near Detroit’s Eastern Market. This was widely reported in the news media.

the steer became famous that day, tearing out the back of a livestock truck 
careening down East Jefferson Ave. as people on sidewalks cheered
until a tranquilizer gun halted him next to Martin Luther King Jr. High School

but some cattle arrived with flesh already torn by other steer unhinged by terror

those who could walk were shoved into high walled chutes 
skulls shot through with electric bolts
which should have rendered them unconscious

but sometimes did not

rescuers named the runaway steer Jefferson
paid his vet bills, sent him to a green and lovely farm

but back in the city, nameless ones still dangled from meat hooks, 
some still alive and moaning, when blades ruthless as axes 
amputated each foot

the last steer to leave the truck did so in shovelfuls of red dripping parts

the steer who escaped
did so only when a worker glanced too long at his watch
or a gate hinge suddenly 


                                                                                                    —Nancy Jaroslawski Erickson

Nancy Jaroslawski Erickson's previous publications include a short story in Sunrust and creative nonfiction guest columns in The Detroit News and The Hamtramck Citizen. Two of her poems have appeared in The Wayne Literary Review, located at Wayne State University. The fact that she has lived most of her life within or near Detroit shapes 97% of what she writes. She also taught school for 21 years in Hamtramck, Michigan, a largely immigrant, urban community where nearly 30 languages are spoken.