“The Difference Between a Child and Offspring” by Melva Sue Priddy
The muddy-hoofed sow farrows
on her side, fastened in the log pen,
a wooden gate shoved up to fasten her in.
She heaves and grunts. “Climb in,”
he orders and I slip to the ground beside her.
If she tried, she couldn’t see her other end,
the swollen vulva swollen.
And they will birth from that end,
this year’s litter. “She’ll eat them all,”
he says. “Take this feed sack and swipe
each pig’s snout so it can breath
then tip it in to nurse.”
Her many pink tipped teats engorge
in two rows pointing toward me.
Into my left hand he shoves a tobacco stick
then leaves for another chore. I look at the space
above the sow; no room to swing should she turn
on me, white skinned and pig scented.
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Melva Sue Priddy’s Artist Statement: Melva Sue Priddy, a Kentuckian, writes poems that witness survivance and growth, bringing to light truths that arise out of felt experience; and the common extraordinary.