Anne Boyer



I have dined on the deviled, the pickled, the rude:
bacon, baloney, barbeque, maws,

neckbones, ears, feet, knees.
I sing the canned and the candied.

Hope farrows plate after plate:
origamied napkins, haikued tapas, all cast pearls.

The mediocre hope to sanctify the vulgar with prayer.
Psalms storm from fork to fork.

A steely pig won't be prayed for jowl by jowl.
A healthy pig will die of itself. Words won't Lazarus

  a sow
  rooting pokeweed,
  this self
  bristled, pink, compelled.



Stand fast. Grief is a gondola, a compulsive
label, a root canal—not a question of a single
switch at the center of things, but billions

of neurons, endorphins, titans rubbing
their wings. Let the monster wander. See a movie.
Buy new clothes. Clichés are bad manners.

Note this Hercules. I pull back, he claws
tighter. At best, it is an allegory
rather than an explanation. One stranger

keeps another company beneath
the leafy canopy. The heroine struggles
to fathom the questionable etiquette of grief.

I remember how it was to see David
on the tennis court. Fully explain that beauty—
the lingering molecules of scent,

the robotic insistence of daylight                    then dark.


I once worked at place that telemarketed pork hooks and anal thermometers for meat packing plants. I wrote "Lob" on their dime. "Cloven by Cloven" was written five years later, over a dinner of Iowa chops.