My mud brown eyes
open wide to dull
the ache of this Carolina
July. It is one
of those days
where sweat drips pin pricks
like needle-sticks, and
drives its track straight
down my back, inside
fabric that can’t breathe,
while the smell of sweet molasses
creeps on up—

they brought her out early
this year: all done up
on a pickin’ platter:
laid low
split n’ spread. 

Twelve weeks young,
she was bred to be pulled—
but she didn't know
how the gentle char of
a thirty-six hour broil
makes pink flesh turn licorice—
flesh that now slips
and drips red pepper
flakes in vinegar base; flesh
that now fifty pairs of sweaty hands
one by one pull n’ pick
each tender bit; the flesh
that this raggybaggy sow
never agreed to give.

Tell me, if you know,
is it still a pig
when only the carcass is left?