Long Pig: a Poem

New Work by Kaveh Akbar

April 19, 2017  By Kaveh Akbar

Long Pig


I came to speak about luck but I fear dismantling what is already
simple so I will say only that if you are fortunate enough to have
a body you shouldn’t leave it lying wet on the floor where anyone
could shred it to bits it is worth treating well   see also the perfect
pine replica of my breastbone which fell off the wall shattering across
the tile   see also the sixteen-celled fetus half-mine lost in the plumbing
of an apartment we lovingly called the Trash Castle   say something or say
nothing the options are always the same and often so are the results


some birds have feathers but can’t fly and even they cherish
their flesh bathing it in sand or snow   every animal longs to be bare
to chew through its fur and melt directly into weather like dry ice there is
a moment of startle when a thing really sees itself for the first time
a shock of hey me it’s me you in this way we are all each others’ mascots
equal and opposite   in my dreams I am a cannibal eating long pig
in a strange unmappable country   it seeps into my living I stay a throb
of hunger and brainstem if you move even a little I will take you in my mouth

Kaveh Akbar
Kaveh Akbar
Kaveh Akbar’s poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, Paris Review, The Nation, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, The Guardian, American Poetry Review, The Poetry Review, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. His second full-length volume of poetry, Pilgrim Bell, will be published by Graywolf in 2021. His debut, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, is out now with Alice James in the US and Penguin in the UK. He is also the author of the chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, published in 2016 by Sibling Rivalry Press.

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