Of Use

My grandfather taught my mother
who in turn taught me: nothing  

of the animal must go to waste.
And so the hide is softened, the skin

soaked and pickled. Every bit
of flesh, salted and dried. Babies

are tossed the chalky eyes or knuckle
bones; my own were given the tongue

of the roasted pig on which to suck,
still warm from the pit. Look now

at how they swill words and push
them around in the mud of this life. 

How they thread the meat and the fat
with their bare hands into glistening

necklaces, then boil what's left of
the blood. Even their own fermenting

sorrow they'll flay without mercy until 
it yields up a thing of use: bright

grains in an hourglass. A book, a poem.
A ladder or bridge to somewhere else. 


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