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Wednesday, December 04, 2019


by Ralph Culver

#Werepig Doodle by Ariane Hofmaniyar.

—for Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill

Cruelty, greed, indifference to others—
these were men, abject one minute
in their pursuit of power, and
obsequious the next
in their fawning adoration
for those who achieved it, often at
their own expense, and worse if
their lives had been spared in the quest.
These were men; this is what men do.
And when she turned to them

and changed them, into swine, jackals,
any form that crept or flew
or crawled but could not speak
with a man’s corrupted tongue,
they had settled into the new shapes
she had given them and,
more often than not, they were thankful.
In fact, for the most part, they
did not want to go back to being men.
It was safe to say they had seen enough.

Here’s the deal: it’s not an intervention
if it’s what you’ve been begging for.
Like most women, whether the woman
knows it or not, whether or not
she wants to know, she understood them
better than they understood themselves.
She was doing them a favor. Such relief
to be the condor, the vulture, that covets
carrion and seeks it out, but calling
to his own, and sharing the spoils.

Ralph Culver's most recent collection of poems is So Be It (WolfGang Press, 2018). His work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. He is a past grantee in poetry of the Vermont Arts Council and multiple nominee for the Pushcart Prize. His book A Passible Man is forthcoming from MadHat Press in 2020.