This pig I live with really
does hover over much of
what I do and say it’s in
the room I lie in daily when
I try to tell myself the truth
about deceit or what I read
or just my being a jerk and lazy
pissy it brings to mind the swine
within and out of sight it’s like
a shadow in its knowing how
dark at heart I am in part
it loves the muck I’m often in
the sty and stink of me and my
it’s like a household deity now
whose name is mine to give and take
back in vain it’s black and beautifully
sketched by Baskin in fact as though
he’d thought it a holy beast of sorts
a sacred cow or Zen bull
someone was having trouble herding
its hooves delicate as a devil’s
prance cloven above the heaven
and hell of my head its law written
in red biblical letters says
for me it seems specifically—
Pig, poet, thou shalt not eat.

From Draw Me After (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022) by Peter Cole. Used with the permission of the publisher.