01/21

pig heart
pigs swelled like apples
in their fields & thought nothing
of college degrees or science.
they told each other secrets
about teeth & sky. dug their names
in the dirt with hooves.
freshman year of college
we dissected pig hearts
in pairs. i was wearing a white dress
that showed my shoulders.
it might as well have been
a wedding. the organ before us
felt cold. almost a statue.
we did this for Descartes
& his pondering. pages & pages
of heart-thinking. i held
the organ steady while my partner
made the cuts. are humans
the only animals who inspect
like this? with careful precision
&, at the same time, with complete
uncertainty. i can tell you very little
about a pig heart other than
the heft & the bright color.
elsewhere, the pigs
take their curiosities to the ground.
pig study noise & tuck each thought
under tongue. pigs are great
at keep secrets even after death.
i was terrified of the heart.
the world felt red & cold.
i wanted to be full of preservatives.
i wanted never to be pried open
like this. in my dorm room that night
i washed my hands in hot water
until they turned red.
let the lamp light pull my shadow
long against the ragged carpet.
out the window i glimpsed
only briefly, the ghosts of
all the pigs running laughing
on the college green.
i closed the blinds & considered
how all surgeons clothes
are that frothy green just like
the sheet they gave us for the heart.
in the morning the pigs were gone.
i saw their hoof prints & they saw
my hungers.

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