Mudlark Poster No. 73 (2008)

Prize Pig and The Elvis

Poems by Christina Kallery

Christina Kallery’s poems have appeared in Failbetter, Rattle, The Hiram Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, and Poetry Motel among other places. She lives in New York.

Prize Pig

A big pink pig—Grand Champ, no less—dozes in the sunny
dirt, domed belly swelling tidally just past the screw-
tailed rump. It looks a little like a naked fat man

snoozing at the fair—refugee from a California
nudist camp or party gone all wrong. Bristled back,
pink shoulders sloping vulnerable, while one ear flicks

a fly. A boy with cornsilk hair works up the guts to stretch
a skinny arm between the bars and poke its flank.
That’s all we want sometimes—to touch the alien

and ugly things, and know them beautiful.
A plaque above the hog pen reads Purchased
by Kowalski
so by Christmas he’ll be sausages,

breakfast links and hams. But today is not a day to die—
soft earth, late August sun, the smell of deep fried
Twinkies carried on the breeze. A human palm warm

on tired flesh pats gently, tentative with awe
and the boy’s small face delighted like he’s seeing,
not an exhausted pig, but fireworks, a big top show,

the bright world from a ferris wheel, 200 feet below.

The Elvis

I bet he gets some action, my friend says
of the guy onstage in pompadour and sky
blue pants, belly flanked by a doublewide
belt. It’s Saturday night in a Polish bar outside

Detroit where everyone’s already good
and drunk by the time he launches into Love
Me Tender,
hauling out his stash of drugstore
scarves to drape, like gauzy blessings,

on the napes of women in the crowd,
a gesture that could pass for almost-love
in any other setting. There’s something
of the real King’s fervid charm that douses

lonely patrons clutching dollar beers—
how he’d inhabit any place you put him,
and even on some antiseptic ‘50s set,
his eyes would flicker into smile mid-

song and you knew he’d seen a pretty girl.
We watch our Elvis gyrate on the dingy stage,
beaded fringe aflail like there’s no moment
more glorious than this one: Suspicious Minds

cued up on crackling speakers, sweaty bodies
swaying on the floor, another round to go
before someone hits a light switch and it’s out
into the frozen streets, the way we all recall

the words to wise men say, only fools rush in
and it rises like a hymn into the rafters.

Copyright © Mudlark 2008
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