the taut curving underside of a fattened pig
begs to be cut open 
it is October again
under a gunmetal sky 
the men bathe the body in warm water
brush the hair away thin and gray
and too much like my father’s


the skillful unzipping of the stomach 
is done by one or another of my uncles
whose sons pull back the skin to find the 
tumultuous intertwining of still warm organs
these we carefully collect and separate


it is the women’s turn to work
inside the barn we make head cheese
we begin to boil fat for lard
we hold each other’s children
teach the young girls how to clean intestine


my father grinds the meat for sausage
and my mother seasons it
dried herbs salt and pepper
together we stuff the casing
drape the long links over wooden beams


for the men to carry to the smoke house
as the day is ending we wash it all clean
hands and table tops and knives and pots
the women make dinner and the men say grace
and everyone eats and waits for winter


- Published by RHUBARB MAGAZING, Issue No. 38

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