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Thursday, May 07, 2020


by Patricia Davis

"Back to the Grind" by Pia Guerra at The Nib.

A thing half wild
carries a menace
             more complete than
the wild thing itself.
Farmers in Canada
               know this. They imported European wild boars
when the market for the boar meat
was good, several decades
             ago. The wild boars—
a number of
            and have since
mated with pigs.
Pigs are bred for bulk
            and have many more litters
and many more piglets per litter
than boars. Now, roaming northern
            and western Canada,
are colonies of pig-boars, spotted,
like domestic pigs
            and six hundred plus
pounds, with bristles
            and tusks.
To survive the winter, when temperatures
fall to 60 below,
           they make snow
burrows and line them with cattails
they've cut with their teeth.
           Pigloos, they’re called.
Porcine prodigies, they root
           through cultivated fields
like small backhoes.
They eat all that fits in their mouths:
           barley, wheat, small reptiles
and mammals.  They are spreading
           across the border into Montana,
North Dakota, hooved
Sasqueals whose habits have been
           only recently discovered.
This is all true.
There are stranger things than
           the odd killer pandemic.
Pigs, intended for slaughter, escape, mate
           with hirsute strangers from the woods,
build nests of soft weeds
that steam in winter from the heat
          so well made they are; pigs
give it all up—the feeding hour,
the predictable grain
         for freedom.
To die at the right time, not at the hand
of greed; not for the market.
Consider this: maybe
the fence is weak
          and our future is something
other than this, this

Patricia Davis has published poetry in Poet Lore, the Atlanta Review, Smartish Pace, Third Coast, and other journals. She works as a human rights advocate in Washington, DC.