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