Before & After, Botched

posted May 5, 2015

You made promises.
When I saw the herd of swine
switched to admirers, saw
their flowing locks & cloven
pedicures, I was in
for both a penny & a pound.
All spring I was your little lamb,
held in thrall. You liked me
smaller, fresh-shorn & smelling still
of creekbed & switchgrass. All fall
you gorged on fatback bacon,
pork chops & leafy greens
braised in rendered lard. You turned
your gracious face from all of us. The girls
turned back to swine. The ice & wind
that winter stripped me & I licked
the runoff from the troughs,
gnawed the tender center
from my bed of straw. I believed once
in your prayers & your conversion stories.
I was a fool & am still made of flesh.

Nancy Reddy is the author of Double Jinx: Poems (Milkweed Editions, 2015), winner of the 2014 National Poetry Series. Her poems have most recently appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, 32 Poems, and Smartish Pace. She is a doctoral candidate in Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also earned her MFA in poetry.

We’ve published three more poems by Reddy: “Rabbit Starvation,” “We Won't Make it to the Talkies,” and “Come Fetch.”