“Lester’s Calling” by Glenn McKee

Glenn McKee


In the “Hey, You There!” of the moment
Lester thought it was the Lord calling.
He turned, looked, saw nothing human,
but there sprawled a pig in the gutter
moaning in a language Lester didn’t
understand but could speak if spoken
to by a friendly pig. This one wasn’t
first-order friendly, sick as it looked,
pig-gibberish erupting like weight-
lifter’s grunts from its fat-fortified
throat, nostrils dilated as if searching
for solace in barren underbrush, tail
a twisted story telling nothing except
confusion and spiraling morbidity.

Lester at last broke his verbal silence
with words of assurance directed into
the gutter, their demeanor cloaked in
the modesty of a mare breaking wind
after overindulging in bitter oats. He
then paused at the gate of his mission,
unlatched society’s scruples, finally
kneeling beside the pig suffering deep
in its own solitude and began soothing
the victim’s receding brow with caution.

This action caused the pig to roll over,
not unlike a dog asked to play dead or
a lap cat wanting its stomach rubbed.
Lester promptly responded, providing
solace where the pig indicated its pain
made a home. At that moment Lester’s
life changed for the better even though
he didn’t know it. All Lester knew as
he knelt was his love for this poor pig.

from Rattle #19, Summer 2003


Glenn McKee: “I suffer from a 60-year-old habit of tearing poetry off my life. Not many pages of my life remain, and those that do hang on like surgical tape plastered on a hairy body. Nevertheless, I intend to write myself out of life.”

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