The old sow went mad
in the midst of her labor
and began eating her young.
It was the winter I turned eleven.
For days, the air had been thick
with flu and flurries.
Fever had baked my brain and bones
in such hallucinatory heat
that I mistook my grandmother's cries
for dregs of dreams.
Still, I pulled on my boots
and waded out into the snow.
The sow that I had raised from a piglet
lay on her side in a sheltered corner of the lot.
Her newly concave sides shuddered with every breath.
Snot and mud crusted her snout.
The sad remains of her litter bloodied the churned snow.
She had ripped them to shreds.
All but one.