Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Pig at the Mexican Orphanage
Either it's all okay or none of it is,
like the lonely black-and-white sow with the bristly face,
her sty filled with rotting corn cobs
and the deep irremediable odor of pigshit
halfway up the hill behind the orphanage.
Past the yard where kids congregate
by swings and slides. Past pens
of bleating goats and the busy hen-house,
I stopped to talk.
Pig you stink and I have no children,
I said. She snorted in acknowledgment
and came close, her wet snout
with its damp, snuffly nostrils like two black tunnels.
Perhaps if I had a grass wand
I could turn her back into a princess
and avert her fate of becoming carnitas or jambon.
Perhaps if I dared to scratch behind her ears.
There are those whose pens
are definite and wooden, and others
whose only cage is the leaden sky
of their own mind.
Look here, in the exact center of my
divided heart where the blood
is always busy, rushing and returning,
where old questions lie
like quartered rotten potatoes
flung on the compost heap
to spring back new again and whole.
Tell me: when they weigh my heart
against the feather of truth
will it crash the scales like a hammer
to the back of a pig's skull
or float straight up to Heaven
like the shrieks of these children
which reach me, faintly, no matter
how high I climb? Bright sparks
from the welder's arc, they know the language
of foot and soccer ball, frijoles y tortillas, just as I know
abandoned may mean alone, desolate, bereft-
or finally free to feel everything.
- Allison Luterman