Friday, December 30, 2011

All But One

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.

15 comments:

Fireblossom said...

What a vivid and disturbing scene you've laid out, here. I don't know if it's something that happened, or if you made it up, but either way, it certainly reads as authentic.

There is something about the lines "For days, the air had been thick/ with flu and flurries" that makes it all immediate and foreboding. And the fever dream feel of it makes it weird and eerie. And so...all but one. Whatever the reason for that is, it ain't wholesome.

hedgewitch said...

Not exactly Charlotte's Web. Growing up on the farm will kick the bejazus out of romanticizing nature(not that I did any young years on a farm, but later life and this poem are among many reasons that have caused me to think so.) Dark and compelling, especially the fated feel of that last line.

Sioux said...

Those last three words slam into the reader with such a powerful punch.

If you were NOT a farm girl, you certainly play the part well.

Sylvia K said...

I do agree with Sioux! A powerful punch indeed! Now, lighten up and have a wonderful, beautiful Happy New Year! Wishing you and your family the very best for the new year!

Sylvia

lucychili said...

that is very sad. vivid.

Alice Audrey said...

Time to make pork chops of her.

Sheila Moore said...

Holy sh*t! A bit different writing voice - I like it.

Dave King said...

Traumatic, no other word for it.

Lydia said...

Remarkable poem. The sow knew she could care for only one in a storm?
It is the kind of scene that would be a defining moment in one's childhood.

In adulthood, under the deck of my rented condo, a pregnant raccoon prepared to have her litter and we called on the services of a no-kill trapper who returned animals to the country. Poor mama raccoon...she gave birth inside the cage after being trapped and ate all the babies during the night. When the guy arrived early the next morning to check on the cage he came to my door with the tragic news. She just could not trust what was to become of her litter. The man took her away and told me she would be in the woods within one hour and that I should not worry because "Mama will have more babies."

ANYhoo, Happy New Year!!!

Claudia said...

dang mz - this is dark and thick with meaning and emotion...love it
happy new year to you!!!

Mary said...

What an awful thing for a person to come upon. Makes me sad.

Susie Clevenger said...

Such vivid Imagery...Life is not pretty at times for human or animal...great piece

Fred said...

Wow, very descriptive, I knew pigs could eat anything but I never thought of it as they could kill their own. All but one, though, leaves a hint of hope that there is promise for that young one, probably a lot of anxiety and all but life it keeps. Really well written, thanks.

ayala said...

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!

flipside records said...

As a metaphor for motherhood, this makes me think of how madness/misery/affliction is passed on from mother to child. So if she saved one, then there's one to carry on her misdeeds in the future. I think we all fear that we will pass on the worst of ourselves to our child(ren).

I'm sure you're just telling a scary childhood story, though.