Sometimes I still dream about their pink
above my nightstand in jars of formaldehyde.
To calm our nerves the teacher told us these
never born, but salvaged from pregnant
sows after slaughter. I sliced carefully
an Exacto-knife, opened the lids of its
Though I never spoke it, I wanted to
its organs and christen them
in the stainless steel sink. There was a
my class who found her newborn sister
facedown in the tub while her mom slept
on the bathroom floor. I wondered
if death was the puddle of water beside
life was the spider who passed by.
The teacher asked us to find the pig’s heart,
it and place it on the tray. I placed
my fingers inside its body and turned to
to me who was cutting off the legs of his
one by one, and placing them in a line.
Russell Agodon is the author of two books
of poems, Small Knots (2004) and Geography,
winner of the 2003 Floating Bridge Press
Chapbook Award. She was born and raised
in Seattle and educated at the University
of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University.
She is the recipient of two Washington State
Artist Trust GAP grants, The James Hearst
Poetry Prize, and the Carlin Aden Award
for formal verse. She recently edited the
Poetry Broadside Series: The Making of Peace.
Her website is: www.agodon.com