A cruel beast of a man,
lingering like bitter whiskey
unwanted in the still air,
speaks to a waitress,
a girl.

He is hungry.
With big eyes, he tells her how small she is,
the way her work-issued shirt hugs her figure,
hides nothing. (Her manager didn’t see the need in the freedom
of a bigger size.)

Yet she holds no hunger,
no desire to change the menu he’s holding in his hands
(which she rips in half when she’s alone).

For she is a beast-tamer,
has been since she was a child.

She carries her mother’s rape whistle around her neck  
and keeps it tucked under her shirt during the shift.
(She doesn’t want to upset anybody.)
She knows that she serves an animal;
she knows the uselessness of lecturing one.
Instead, she takes one of its bones
and sets it on her kitchen table.
She teaches her daughter how to sharpen it,
how to fight with it, 

how to kill.

And she hopes.
She hopes the beasts will evolve
and there will be no more killing.