Fleda Brown

Someone Is Walking the Pig
January 23, 2022 Brown Fleda

Someone Is Walking the Pig


Someone is walking the pig in our downstairs hallway, where the shops are.
No, I forgot, the pig is staying home safe these days. She’s a big pig,
black with a white stripe down her snout, bright pink nostrils
and hooves,  as pigs have. She was wearing a pink flowered harness.
Pigs are very smart. This one made little snorts when petted.
She was an ordinary surprise in the hallway, back when things were
ordinary. Days went on with their catastrophes and sorrows
and weddings and dances. A graph of those days would reach up
to about a four or five, and below the line, about the same.
This was before the graph began to look like Mt. Everest
above, and the pit of hell below. A pig with a flowered harness
would be swallowed alive by the recent excitements.
There are about a billion pigs alive at any one time.
They can learn their names and they have excellent memories.
They like music, and they sympathize with each other
when one is in distress. They are ordinary in that way like us.
When our pig used to come here, everyone would stop
to greet her as if there were some enchantment in being a pig.
Of course It is not that long ago that there were deep
dark forests, and pigs digging truffles, and three little pigs
in their houses of straw and sticks and bricks. Now all this regret,
as if we don’t know how to end a story properly any more,
as if we’ve forgotten the moral and just awkwardly watch the pig
to see if it will do something clever, but not too clever.

Fleda Brown’s tenth collection of poems, Flying Through a Hole in the Storm  (2021) won the Hollis Summers Prize from Ohio University Press. Earlier poems can be found in The Woods Are On Fire: New & Selected Poems, chosen by Ted Kooser for the University of Nebraska poetry series in 2017. Her work has appeared three times in The Best American Poetry and has won a Pushcart Prize, the Felix Pollak Prize, the Philip Levine Prize, and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers’ Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her new memoir, Mortality, with Friends is out from Wayne State University Press Fall 2021. She is professor emerita at the University of Delaware and was poet laureate of Delaware from 2001-07.