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Pig Lifting




"Pick up a pig every day from its birth

and you can do it when it's full grown,"

someone told my grandfather,

and no doubt meant the pig would let him,

but in three years my grandfather increased

his already powerful body

such that he could lift the now huge hog.

Like Milon of Croton, who lifted a calf

every day and carted it around,

and was able to lift the ox when full grown;

who won the Greek Olympics' wrestling laurel

six times.

My grandfather did not wrestle men,

but, as a farmer, animals and the ground itself

till he was pinned by a tractor and counted out.

If he had lifted every part as made and assembled,

could he have lifted machine and death

like the pig we see in pictures

on his lap in chairs, cradled in his arms,

draped large across his back.

In my grandfather's final rendering

he could snatch nothing from old weighty death,

and left behind only scraps

like these.

Leland Kinsey"Lifting a Pig" appears in Sledding on Hospital Hill, David R. Godine Publisher, 2003.

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