October 9, 2009

Patricia Smith


Obscene enticement, the entire head of a hog
in the window of the meat market
is fly-speckled testament to what man will gobble
if it can be bought one quarter at a time.
Mama and I will make sandwiches
from this pig’s jellied noggin,
slicing the cheese of it thin,
drenching snowy bread with Tabasco.

It is this way with us,
girls of the first wave.
We crave chicken necks, salt pork,
the pickled feet of pigs.
We pluck hairs from the skin of our suppers,
treasure sizzling drippings in sinkside jars,
sop up what’s left with biscuits.

Outside of us, cities are torched.
Policies decide who we are, where we will live.
But our souls are hastily crafted
of fat, salt and sugar,
all that Dixie dirt binding us whole.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007

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