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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 1, March 2018

Chris Bays
Beavercreek, Ohio, USA

Beyond the Bleating of Lambs near Otterbach

A subtle darkness permeates the street, and I don’t know why – until I see the chain store where the butcher shop once stood. It blocks the rolling Rhineland hills of this village and the rising sun. As I stare at the three-story block of concrete, a gravelly voice breaks the silence, “You’re Christa’s son, aren’t you?”

I look to my right. An old man with cane emerges from an ivy-clad rowhouse. Though I don’t recall his name, he looks familiar – his warm, hazel eyes draw me to the past. I nod my head and point to the spot where the butcher shop once was.

“It’s been years since it stood there,” he mutters.

“Yes, I’ve stayed away too long,” I say. “I loved the Aufschnitt here as a child. The sampling of meats was the best.”

There is a moment of silence, both of us facing the spot where the shop once stood, until he coughs and rasps, “It was in the family for years. All of them were kind butchers, only buying animals from small farms. Killing them quickly.”

He steps closer and whispers, “You know, they took the last butcher away. Tried to cure him of shaking hands and night ravings. People say he wasn’t the same when he lost the shop – had to work for a meat factory. They say he couldn’t sleep – something about the crying of calves in nightmares.”

I am about to ask his name, when he turns his back. As he totters up the stoops of the rowhouse, the darkness of the doorway envelops him.

foraged greens …
a scent from childhood
with each bite



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