Antelope Grazing in My Front Yard

“May one be pardon’d and retain the offense?”
King Claudius, Hamlet

The Outback startles them every morning when
I crank up and head down the driveway,
though they don’t act annoyed that I’ve
interrupted their vegan breakfast.
They dash off to a safe distance, turn, and
stare at me, the last lovely, tranquil scene
I’ll witness before I’m prey to traffic snarls and student scowls.

If they only realized I mean them no harm and
that they’re free from danger around my house.
Yet they remain aloof, making me wonder if
they know my admiration for their beauty is
tainted by my far less benign appreciation of their tasty shanks
braised in a port wine reduction sauce.
That I’ve never injured them directly makes little difference.
Others commit foul murder on my culinary behalf so I can
savor wild game in fine restaurants.

Lest PETA freaks be heartened by my
carnivorous remorse, I have no plans to
allow guilt to alter my diet.
Still, I don’t fancy myself a
Ted Nugent “got you in a stranglehold, [antelope] baby”
meat maniac either.
But, doggone it, had I been a member of the
Donner Party, I’d have been the first to
break weak and line up for a hearty Homo sapiens hamburger,
fears of perdition no match for malnutrition.