The Pig Died

Who would say this?

The Pig Died
Photo by Catalina Piñon / Unsplash

By Mario Duarte

Without ever being
Touched, though, my wife
Said it dreamed
Of hands touching
Its back, stroking
Its ears, a voice
Whispering, you are
Wanted, loved.

Who would say this?
Well, those that know—
I felt as much. So
When the pig died
Something in me
Was stirred, awake,
Something that wanted
To be held, to feel
Warmth, tenderness.

Every day I passed by
The pig’s grave—felt
So low, off. I recalled
The twist of its tail,
Large black spots,
A girth that, yes,
Made me smile.

One night while
Drifting off to sleep,
I heard a bang
At the window,
Thinking it was
Only a branch,
I shrugged it off,
But then I heard
A squeal—the pig’s
Unique, solitary
Squeal, the one
That rang out
When I tossed
Out it feed—oh.

My wife says
Confinement is
A coffin—but
The real nail
Is life, you see.
Ah, how we all
Just wish to be
Touched, if only
One time before
We die, and rot.

So when I rose,
Gazed out the panes,
I knew the pig wanted
Me to reach out,
Rub behind its ears,
To say good pig.

Then, and only
Then would the pig
And me too, ever
Have any peace,
Something like love
In this long life.

Good pig. Rest.

 Mario Duarte is a Mexican American writer. He is an Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate who lives in Iowa City. His poems and short stories have appeared in Arkana, Emerald City, Ocotillo Review, Red Ogre Review, and Rigorous, among others.  Recently, he published a poetry collection To the Death of the Author and a short story collection My Father Called Us Monkeys Growing Up Mexican American in the Heartland will be released soon.