To the Unseeable Animal

My Daughter: “I hope there’s an animal
somewhere that nobody has ever seen.
And I hope nobody ever sees it.”

Being, whose flesh dissolves
at our glance, knower
of the secret sums and measures,
you are always here,
dwelling in the oldest sycamores,
visiting the faithful springs
when they are dark and the foxes
have crept to their edges.
I have come upon pools
in streams, places overgrown
with the woods’ shadow,
where I knew you had rested,
watching the little fish
hang still in the flow;
as I approached they seemed
particles of your clear mind
disappearing among the rocks.
I have walked deep in the woods
in the early morning, sure
that while I slept
your gaze passed over me.
That we do not know you
is your perfection
and our hope. The darkness
keeps us near you.

– Wendell Berry, in Art and Nature, an Illustrated Anthology of Nature Poetry

The Cows On Killing Day

by Les Murray

All me are standing on feed. The sky is shining.

All me have just been milked. Teats all tingling still
from that dry toothless sucking by the chilly mouths
that gasp loudly in in in, and never breathe out.

All me standing on feed, move the feed inside me.
One me smells of needing the bull, that heavy urgent me,
the back-climber, who leaves me humped, straining, but light
and peaceful again, with crystalline moving inside me.

Standing on wet rock, being milked, assuages the calf-sorrow in me.
Now the me who needs mounts on me, hopping, to signal the bull.

The tractor comes trotting in its grumble; the heifer human
bounces on top of it, and cud comes with the tractor,
big rolls of tight dry feed: lucerne, clovers, buttercup, grass,
that’s been bitten but never swallowed, yet is cud.
She walks up over the tractor and down it comes, roll on roll
and all me following, eating it, and dropping the good pats.

The heifer human smells of needing the bull human
and is angry. All me look nervously at her
as she chases the dog me dream of horning dead: our enemy
of the light loose tongue. Me’d jam him in his squeals.

Me, facing every way, spreading out over feed.

One me is still in the yard, the place skinned of feed.
Me, old and sore-boned, little milk in that me now,
licks at the wood. The oldest bull human is coming.

Me in the peed yard. A stick goes out from the human
and cracks, like the whip. Me shivers and falls down
with the terrible, the blood of me, coming out behind an ear.
Me, that other me, down and dreaming in the bare yard.

All me come running. It’s like the Hot Part of the sky
that’s hard to look at, this that now happens behind wood
in the raw yard. A shining leaf, like off the bitter gum tree
is with the human. It works in the neck of me
and the terrible floods out, swamped and frothy. All me make the Roar,
some leaping stiff-kneed, trying to horn that worst horror.
The wolf-at-the-calves is the bull human. Horn the bull human!

But the dog and the heifer human drive away all me.

Looking back, the glistening leaf is still moving.
All of dry old me is crumpled, like the hills of feed,
and a slick me like a huge calf is coming out of me.

The carrion-stinking dog, who is calf of human and wolf,
is chasing and eating little blood things the humans scatter,
and all me run away, over smells, toward the sky.

The Oldest Animal Writes a Letter Home

by Sabrina Orah Mark

To That Mutter and That Fodder:

You never sended byrds unless nuffing is the byrds you sended which was not the byrds I meant.  Even if The One wif the Tooths who is alpso called The CollekTorah brings them in The Jar.  Those is not the byrds I meant.   Or if I was fastly awake under the grandfodder tree when One Turrible Water falled from the wooly Skyys.  Those is not the byrds I meant.  And neever is the parsnips, although One of the parsnip has a littlest feather on the tops of its heads.  That parsnip is maded out of Magiks I obey.  I thinks I loveth that parsnip, but nones of it is those byrds I meant.  At last I invented some idears if That Mutter and That Fodder is wonderling how:  CollekT the byrds auf the roof and outs of the attic and swore to thems out lord that thy Oldest Animal shall be thy Witness Forevermores and At Last.  And if it is scayred said Onto That Byrd “The Oldest Animal is scayred too.”  And if it shaketh in thy Flaysh said Onto That Byrd “The Oldest Animal shaketh in thy Flaysh too.”  And if it is a lostling if that soarless parsnip will never loveth back said Onto That Byrd “The Oldest Animal is a lostling too.”

I maded myselfs a prayer against forgetting me.   I rasp it out lord wif one hoofs in the ayr, and one hoofs on my hearts.  It says its wyrds like this:  Something Beautiful Is Going to Happen, Something Beautiful Is Going to Happen, Something Beautiful Is Going to Happen.

Sincerply,

The Oldest Animal (sighted in contents)

Coon Song

by A.R. Ammons

I got one good look
in the raccoon’s eyes
when he fell from the tree
came to his feet
and perfectly still
seized the baying hounds
in his dull fierce stare,
in that recognition all
decision lost,
choice irrelevant, before the
battle fell
and the unwinding
of his little knot of time began:

Dostoevsky would think
it important if the coon
could choose to
be back up the tree:
or if he could choose to be
wagging by a swamp pond
dabbling at scuttling
crawdads: the coon may have
dreamed in fact of curling
into the holed-out gall
of a fallen oak some squirrel
had once brought
high into the air
clean leaves to: but
reality can go to hell
is what the coon’s eyes said to me:
and said how simple
the solution to my
problem is: it needs only
not to be: I thought the raccoon
felt no anger,
saw none; cared nothing for cowardice,
bravery; was in fact
bored at
knowing what would ensue:
the unwinding, the whirling growls,
exposed tenders,
the wet teeth–a problem to be
solved, the taut-coiled vigor
of the hunt
ready to snap loose:
you want to know what happened,
you want to hear me describe it,
to placate the hound’s-mouth
slobbering in your own heart:
I will not tell you: actually the coon
possessing secret knowledge
pawed dust on the dogs
and they disappeared, yapping into
nothingness, and the coon went
down to the pond
and washed his face and hands and beheld
the world: maybe he didn’t:
I am no slave that I
should entertain you, say what you want
to hear, let you wallow in
your silt: one two three four five:
one two three four five six seven eight
nine ten:
all this time I’ve been
counting spaces
while you were thinking of something else)
mess in your own sloppy silt:
the hounds disappeared
yelping (the way you would at extinction)
into–the order
breaks up here–immortality:
I know that’s where you think the brave
little victims should go:
I do not care what
you think: I do not care what you think:
I do not care what you
think: one two three four five
six seven eight nine ten: here we go
round the here-we-go-round, the here-we-
go-round, the here-we-go-round: coon will end in disorder at the
teeth of hounds: the situation
will get him:
spheres roll, cubes stay put: now there
one two three four five
are two philosophies
here we go round the mouth-wet of
hounds
what I choose
is youse:
baby

To Waste My Hands

by Aracelis Girmay

Three years ago, I stood on the dock near my father’s house
while the small shark suffocated & was killed.

He was like an angel culled up from the purple sea.
& the air smashed into him like an anvil

& his muscles sank desperately into the ribs. Terrible

terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible
to watch him that way. More terrible to waste my hands, just

standing.

A Doe Replaces Iphigenia on the Sacrificial Altar

By Robyn Schiff

There was a need
to be weak and I met
it. I appeared in the confusion
between strength and
surrender, as if out of nowhere,
that’s the illusion.
I was reared
ruminating
in a thicket of
sorrow with a beautiful
string of drool
hanging out the side of my
mouth like a loose
phosphorescent
tether.
How will I know
what to do, I wondered.
No one does, my mother said.
And then, as the drawing back of the ocean
before a tsunami
suddenly exposes
outrageous fish on the seabed, gasping,
a great inhalation placed me
here panting on the sacred grass.
I feel like a girl in heaven,
but I am a beast in a clearing.
I came to
as the wind picked up
and in the bay
as the tide
came in,
what a blow to mankind,
an animalcrude wind
to war, toward
war, untoward
toward war
took my breath
away with it.

I AM GOING TO REFERENCE RELIGION AND GODS

by Abraham Smith

1800’s  north wisconsin   leave it to me
to work ollie fink into the leaven   he was
an ass   had eyes like blood-fat
wood ticks wrestled from the worst dog
old snuff smeared for a beard   and a stench like trash

very famous for killing wolves

killed them clean from two counties   both rusk and taylor
a lot of feed sack tied off puppy howling   that’s saying something
he poisoned them   he kept the powder at home   he was a

bachelor so there was nothing stopping him

he shook bear flesh full of poison and he laid in the bushes
during the interminable coughing and he
dragged them warm
back home at dark
with the northern lights never crass on high
and there it was he tied
eight ten beautiful wolves in the glory of middle life
by their necks by the light of the moon
up to wire

little pistol shit of a cuss of a man
leaning on his shit shack
next to ten beautiful songwriters
all by the throats

promise you if I had been the moon
snapping milk bleach pictures   I would’ve
I wood haft said oll old pal I’d like to take a second
one of you with my rifle and lowering
my rifle into one crater or other and cocking it touched
the trigger to gravity bang   made his bangs gravy
I would have leveled him bang fuck the stories
of old world wolves stealing babies that’s bull and

ollie was too   the old creek low and testy
the new dawn cool   sky worn and wormy
awfully stinky lumbermen   fat wrists swinging
norwegian ditties winging   fat wrist lard asses leveling the

white pines out of there

he clouded hearing them sawyers singing
not soothing for they grated on the ache he already had he felt
pain this is ollie follow me here   ollie in piebald britches
piebald with bear greases   suspenders built of wolf tongues
stripped stamped knocked the fool howl out of them   getting
harder to keep his oily self up he slept in suspenders   witch wart
wolf plums   he tried to rest strapped into calcified moon rungs

his tooth hurt good   so reached
for pain kill powder   took instead

gaffed

he took the wolf poison into his hands   a pair of
rough and ready hands in the wolf urine light of
halfdawn with norwegian lard asses already singing

his two bulky never pray snakehead hands that shined a little
like something fresh varnished or yanked from water or pried from
birthing matter

ollie drank the shit down with a draw of rusty creek water in the half life of
dawn with lumberjacks singing now plaintive now joyful birds writing one
sun like a drunk on a stump with nothing but unkindness left to churn

old oll performed a little work   I think he pulled a weed out from

the ground   he   ollie fink   solo lobo killer    took it in his head to lay down

tried to   then   fell by

his plank board bed they found him cold and down

old tough ass fink

some there were who claimed it was his buttons they were
always poison spiders   somewhere a lone baby
wolf applauds gangbusters performs a lewd jig in the dust ollie
used to spit
only things asked us

that we don’t mind the descent   and lengthen the harness some

book reviewers always praise books as ‘life-affirming’ because the more humans there are on earth the better

by Tao Lin

i click a link on the internet
i watch a video
a bullfighter in spain
pushes a sword into a bull’s shoulder
the entire sword goes down into the bull
like a toothpick into a plum

and the bull keeps moving and bucking
and as it moves around
the sword cuts up its insides
and i want to see the bull’s eyes
but the video is quicktime
and the size of a baby’s forehead cut in half
and i turn my head
to a different angle
so that i might see the bull’s eyes
but this is on a computer screen
and two-dimensional
and now the bullfighter is cutting off the bull’s ears
from behind, and the bull is on the ground, and shivering
as if it were cold, and just wanted a blanket, and a bed
and i deleted this line
and i deleted this line, too, in revisions
and i deleted this line that was talking about god
and this line was also talking about god and it said something about the universe and I deleted it
and this line kept talking about semantics and i deleted it

Genesis 1

Water went they say.  Land was not they say.  Water only then, mountains were not, they say.  Stones were not they say.  Trees were not they say.  Grass was not they say.  Fish were not they say.  Deer were not then they say.  Elk were not they say.  Grizzlies were not they say.  Panthers were not they say. Wolves were not they say.  Bears were not they say.  People were washed away they say.  Grizzlies were washed away they say.  Panthers were washed away they say.  Deer were washed away they say.  Coyotes were not then they say.  Ravens were not they say.  Owls were not they say.  Buzzards were not they say.  Chicken-hawks were not they say.  Robins were not they say.  Grouse were not they say.  Quails were not they say.  Bluejays were not they say. Ducks were not they say.  Yellow-hammers were not they say.  Condors were not they say.  Herons were not they say.  Screech-owls were not they say. Woodcocks were not they say.  Woodpeckers were not they say.  Then meadowlarks were not they say.  Then Sparrow-hawks were not they say. Then woodpeckers were not they say.  Then seagulls were not they say.  Then pelicans were not they say.  Orioles were not they say.  Then mockingbirds were not they say.  Wrens were not they say.  Russet-back thrushes, blackbirds were not they say.  Then crows were not they say.  Then hummingbirds were not they say.  Then curlews were not they say.  Then mockingbirds were not they say.  Swallows were not they say.  Sandpipers were not they say. Then foxes were not they say. Then wildcats were not they say.  Then otters were not they say. Then minks were not they say. Then elks were not they say. Then jack-rabbits, grey squirrels were not they say. Then ground squirrels were not they say. Then red squirrels were not they say. Then chipmunks were not they say. Then woodrats were not they say. Then kangaroo-rats were not they say. Then long-eared mice were not they say. Then sapsuckers were not they say. Then pigeons were not they say. Then warblers were not they say. Then geese were not they say. Then cranes were not they say. Then weasels were not they say. Then wind was not they say. Then snow was not they say. Then frost was not they say. Then rain was not they say. Then it didn’t thunder. Then trees were not when it didn’t thunder they say. It didn’t lighten they say. Then clouds were not they say. Fog was not they say. It didn’t appear they say. Stars were not they say.  It was very dark.

– translated from Cahto [Kato] Indian in Technicians of the Sacred,  edited with commentary by Jerome Rothenberg

Little Pig

by Oni Buchanan

That’s right, Little Pig,
you’re allowed to do anything you want.
That’s right, Little Pig.
You’re allowed.
Whatever you like, Little Pig,
you can do it today
while the sun is up,
while the cedar chips are warm,
while there are fresh grain pellets in your food dish.
It’s time to choose from all the many things
you like to do, which one to do
first, which one to do second.
The day has begun for you,
Little Pig.  It is a sunny day today,
indoors, but near the window—

*

Ring that little bell with your nose, Little Pig!
There’s a bell there, and it’s hanging down like that
so that you can ring it!  Ring, ring, ring! It’s time
for the world to know! There’s a joyful noise
in the air, Little Pig, and you’re
making it, you’re streaming it through the air
like a beautiful red ribbon!

*

Those are some nice green leaves you’ve got,
Little Pig! Those are some nice green leaves
you’ve got there. Those green leaves have nice
curly edges; it’s special to eat
leaves like that, Little Pig, those leaves with
a ruffle around the edge, thick green leaves, crisp
and wet, you look so happy
like you know
how special it is. I bet those are some
good-tasting leaves, Little Pig.

*

Sometimes it’s nice to chew on cardboard,
Little Pig.  A nice tube of cardboard, or the edges
of an oatmeal drum. It’s nice if somebody
opens up both ends of the drum so you can
run through it, or nibble on the edges of the drum,
a tentative nibble before you
commit yourself to a whole-hearted
chewing, full absorption with your
industry of teeth, and your eyes just
looking out either side of your head like that,
just staring out not really at anything.
You can chew from inside the drum,
or from the outside, from
wherever you so happen
to be situated, Little Pig, to be able to chew
right from where you are is a nice
convenience these days.

*

Someone could build you a house
of soft pine wood, Little Pig.  Because your teeth
are always growing
and somebody’s got to keep them
manageable, Little Pig, they need to fit
in your own mouth and not
hurt you, your own teeth, Little Pig,
like a miniature monster
terrorizing you from inside your own
mouth.  You could chew on the soft pine
of your house or on some cardboard tubes
or a little bit on your salt lick
if you can stand the taste for very long.
Chewing on newspaper isn’t as fun.  Too
inky and dirty, who wants to eat
all that dirt and all those
words.  It’s enough to make a Little Pig
sick with all that ink and horrible
meaning.  You’d like to think
nobody aspires to keep
up-to-the-moment on the most
depraved human behavior, nobody
enjoys gawking at the latest inconceivable and
gruesome murder, nobody’s a
voyeur in that way
of total indecency and complete disregard for other
living things. Shredded office paper is okay
but not as satisfying, pre-shredded like that,
in that prefabricated way.  We all know
the teeth need to do their own
shredding, their own tearing
to wear themselves down—

*

Somebody could build your house
with both ends open
so you can run through your house
as free as a bird sweeping through the rafters,
as free as a prairie dog running through
short subterranean tunnels that open
onto dry, waving grasses, as free as
(slowed down in passing frames) a snake
molting from its old skin, emerging in renewed
colors, then living, molting
again, it’s like a new
house every time you return!
And somebody could fit your house
with a jumping block jutting
perpendicularly from the outside wall,
you could run out one side
of the house and loop
around, leaping over the block before you
run back in the other side—
Perpetual joy is in that loop, Little Pig!
And in the leap, pure exhilaration
punctuating the joy, can it get
any better?  Can we ask for more than that?

*

It’s nice to see you so early this morning, Little Pig,
with your soft nose peeking in from the
running track doorway!
I see you’ve already
been exploring, maybe sniffing
with your soft nose in distant
corners of your pig environment.
It is good and wise to navigate one’s world
with one’s nose, as the dawn breaks
and the smells too crack open—
Did you find a fragrant surprise
fit for such a soft and delicate
muzzle?  Did you find a wisp of scent,
fragile, delightful, a hint, a barely detectable
joy, a pleasure that you uncovered with your
devotion and your exploration?
Little Pig, you are the detective of joy.
You follow all the clues and find it
right where it is hidden.

*

It’s a very nice and special thing
to be a Little Pig. There are so many
special sounds a pig can make,
including emphatic squealing, a low, vibrating
purring kind of sound, and then your median oink,
the general and continuous commentary
of contentedness throughout the day.
And a pig’s excitement is so easily,
so fluently expressed, and free for all
to hear—“Something good is about
to happen!” “I know something good
is coming this way!” For there are many
deceptions that will make a Little Pig
misperceive—or—hope for the best, because
a Little Pig is your permanent optimist.
Be it the sound of a plastic bag crinkling
or house keys jangling or the refrigerator door
opening—a Little Pig will always jump
to the best possible conclusion, the best
possible outcome, and a Little Pig’s full faith
in these ambiguous situations is
a true joy to behold. It is often
that a Little Pig crafts her own
destiny by so moving anyone who listens
to provide for her the joy that she expects,
a piece of lettuce, a grape or carrot, a slice of
berry, a scratch behind the ears, for any
of these things will please a Little Pig beyond
earthly measure, shame, shame on us.

*

It’s okay to run on your track, Little Pig.
Run around as fast as you can.
Listen to that scuffle your tiny claws
make on the plywood track!
You can go faster than you ever thought
possible, you are a streak of rainbow,
you are a shooting star, Little Pig!  Do you know
what that is, have you ever seen
the night, I mean, the night that has stars
and not just darkness, not just a
carpeted black? Listen to your speed, Little Pig!
You can run as fast as you want!
It will all be fine if you run and run,
you can run all day! You can run all night!
You can run until you’re tired!  You can jump too,
just a little leaping as you run, just a leap
into the air now and then as you run,
you can feel your whole
body in the air—you’re free, Little Pig!
You’re free from the ground!

*

And you are such a nimble pig, even though
you are shaped a bit like a
stuffed Christmas stocking
or a somewhat bulky burrito
or a hoagie with too many
toppings or a woolly-bear caterpillar, you are built
somehow to run and leap and find joy
in the air, I hear you
oinking as you run, for joy!  Not every animal
sings as it runs and that makes you
special, a special creature, Little Pig.
A Little Pig is what we should
aspire to be in our own dull and compromised
minds, our calloused, sickly,
unseemly minds, fetid in a bath of bile.
Our degraded, offcast,
baseless, contemptible, vulgar,
sordid minds. Our minds, marinating
in peevishness and overloaded with the latest
tally of wrongs committed against our own
pristine unaccountability.  Dishonorable and indelicate,
Little Pig, we are not fit
to take care of you, and so often
we fail and you do not get to live
like you deserve through no
fault of your own, Little Pig, through no
failing of your own. No failing of your
character, no failing of your instinct, no
failing of your efforts.  It’s not because you didn’t
try your very best.

*

Shake that water bottle, Little Pig.
Shake the gosh darn heck out of that empty
water bottle.  Because everyone should know
that pigs need water to slake their thirst,
that all pigs need a little water because their
mouths get a little bit dry, that’s what
happens when you’re alive, it’s only the
natural thing, and a Little Pig needs some water
to keep going through the day.  Thrash
the heck out of that plastic bottle, Little Pig.
Everyone needs to know that they need
to provide you with enough
water for your thirst, Little Pig.  Water
for your present thirst and water for your future thirst.
And some water to dribble from the sides
of your mouth as you drink.
Because everyone knows that a water bottle
is not the most efficient dispenser
of water, but you catch what you can,
Little Pig.  You drink water as best as you can,
until you don’t feel thirsty anymore, until
the moment of your thirst has passed and you don’t
notice it anymore, you can
forget about it for the time being without even
trying, your attention moves to a new
place, easy and unconcerned—

*

It’s nice to reach up into the hay feeder
to pull down some nice fresh hay or timothy
with your teeth,
some clean, dry hay that smells fresh and nice
and tastes good too.
It’s nice to eat hay in the afternoon
when a fresh batch arrives in the feeder.
“Somebody that loves me
put that hay there,” you can think as you chew.
It’s almost like the sun
warmed that hay for you,
like the sun is feeding you
with an outstretched and friendly ray.

*

Good job, Little Pig, you did such a
good job today eating all the
food pellets out of your food dish, I heard you
crunching on some pellets, they’re like
chewable vitamins, lots of
good, healthy things in those there
pellets and you did a good job eating
every last one, cleaning out your whole
food dish, you didn’t even throw a tantrum
and flip your entire food dish
upside-down and urinate on its contents
or somehow accidentally get a poop
mixed in with the pellets, it’s a good thing
not to get poops in your food dish, those are
some nice manners you’ve got,
Little Pig, a real regal sense of
etiquette, you could have guests
over, you could author a manual, you could
receive foil-backed invitations
and purchase doilies, soon you’ll be eating
with the King and Queen at Buckingham
Palace, soon I’ll be saying that I knew you
way back when—

*

Hello, good morning! You are a very nice
and alert pig! Good morning, nice pig!  I must say,
you’re looking a little bit fat today, Little Pig,
your rear is looking awfully
big, no offense,
like maybe you ate too much for
a few weeks in a row, maybe you
dreamed too much there, lounging on those
wood chips or in your little house, maybe
you chewed on some food in your sleep,
because today it’s catching up to you,
Little Pig, you look a bit plump, maybe a little bit
fat and ungainly, maybe it would be easier
on you if you just lost a little bit
around the middle, kept it slim, Little Pig.

*

Today we can go outside, Little Pig!
I’m home and I’m going to play with you,
it’s sunny today and the grass
is long!  I found some dandelions
growing in the yard, you can sit
beneath the yellow soft explosion
like your own personal sun
and chew on the jagged bitter greens
you somehow find delicious—  Maybe
it is true that every bitter thing you touch
becomes infused with a sweetness it thought
was long lost, a sweetness it thought
was no longer available to it, not now, not
after all these years, all this
time and harshness.

*

You are made to be such a nice creature,
Little Pig, you are a blessing to be around
for anyone.  For all people.
It is an honor to be near you, Little Pig.
It is an honor to be recognized by you
as your friend. I passed a local church recently,
and its marquee announced there would be
a “Blessing of the Animals” that particular
weekend.  I thought, how can it possibly be
that we disgusting, selfish, devouring
humans, avaricious and insatiate, rapacious
and inconsolable, filled with soiled rags
and gasoline and crumpled dollar bills,
filled with attics of rusty fans and quarry-depths
of submerged machinery, invisible blades
that dismember eager and shivering swimmers, filled
with trash compactors and glutted
disposals clogged with peels, amalgamated
monstrosities, how can it be
that we could deign to offer our
“Blessing of the Animals” to a population
ravaged by our greed, we like a plague
destroying them as we breed
and spread like a clutching, limitless disease?
We are a godawful
species, Little Pig, obstinate
and useless. Yet you animals offer us a
blessing every day that we observe you, every
hour that we spend with you, every minute
that we think of you, you animals
offer us a blessing but nobody
hears it because guess why.
Nobody is listening. Not here, Little Pig.
The ears are stopped with clay.

*

It’s okay to take a nap, Little Pig.
It’s okay to take a little nap
in the middle of the afternoon when you might
be tired, Little Pig, or if it’s
too hot out, it’s okay
to take a nap if you need to lie down
or rest, if you feel a little bit sleepy
and the cedar chips seem restful, if it seems
comforting to lie down a little bit
or to stretch out, it’s okay, Little Pig.
You can lie in the sun or in the shade
as you like. You can lie in the open
or in your little house if you need
some privacy or if you want to dream,
if there’s something more, you can dream
about what’s outside, about another
world, Little Pig, where the grass grows high
and you can eat in the sun whenever
you like, and other little
pigs like you nearby eating grass—

*

Little Pig, you are a special, special creature,
and if everybody doesn’t know it, if they’re
more worried about their designer manicures and their
subwoofers and their vanity plates and their
gym memberships and their pant suits, that’s not
your problem. You just keep right on doing
what you like best. Something will come of it
as the days pass and pass, or maybe
not.  Maybe nothing will come of it.
Because nobody knows if a joy
will be waiting at the end of all their
efforts.  But you, you
could care less, since you find
a hidden joy in all things.  You
are the sweetest creature
there ever was. How were you
made and how do you
bring joy to everyone who meets you,
no matter what, no matter who?  You are the common
denominator, Little Pig, it’s only you.

*

Good night, sweet pig, good night.
It’s nice to give you one last pat
before we both go to sleep for the night.
You can go into your remotest
hidey-hole and curl up
in the darkest corner if that’s
what you like. All pigs need a place
that is all their own, where nobody
can reach in and drag them out.
All pigs deserve to be completely
inaccessible when it’s important to them
to have a little privacy.  Because all pigs deserve
to have their private lives and their own
dignity.  Even though it’s fun to think
that we both go to sleep together,
I know that actually the night
is one of your favorite times
to do whatever you do, Little Pig,
because sometimes I wake up and I hear you
making your soft gentle noises
or running as fast as you can.
You have your own projects, Little Pig,
that I am not privy to, that I will never
understand and I love you
for that, for your entirely
private and personal undertakings.
Thank you for humoring me, for greeting me
with a kind and happy look, an eager
and welcoming look, in the morning when I
rejoin the world and find you
joyful and excited to see me.  It’s nice
to wake up to you, Little Pig.
It’s nice to aspire to be
deserving of your love, the love
of one Little Pig, unique in all the world.