About Barely SouthSubmission GuidelinesCurrent IssuePast IssuesFeaturesBlog

Sow [Graduate ODU Poetry Prize Winner]

By Michael Alessi

  • It’s not the fists of steam that roll from the body
  • when the sow strung up on gambrels spills open.
  • It’s not her father stepping inside to cut away
  • what will be chitlins, the skin
  • folding over his shoulders like two wings.
  • It’s not the buckets of blood
  • her twin nephews lug to the barn
  • and pour into an earthen trough.
  • It’s not the black mantle of hair
  • that bobs on the surface of the scalding pan,
  • or the hook her uncle stirs the body with.
  • It’s not the way the zinc can lids
  • melt and curl from the heat
  • as the last dark hairs are scraped.
  • It’s not the sight of her brother leading
  • the animal to the clearing by a rope,
  • but that it lifts its head to sniff the pistol
  • at the pierce of the whistle
  • he has used to call her before.

*

Michael Alessi’s work has appeared in New Delta Review, where he won the 2013 Ryan R. Gibbs Short Fiction Contest, and is forthcoming in Nano Fiction and Mid-American Review. He lives in Chicago. Email him at michaelalessi87@gmail.com



about | submissions | present | past | features | blog