Chapter 16
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Book Excerpt: Worship the Pig


Here is your bread, sweetened with honey
as preferred, here your portion of milk,
thick with cream and cold. Here your chair,
placed just so before the small desk, before
the window I have opened wide onto the world.
Whether this new day offers flower
or sword, lyric of praise or bitter lament,
a palette of holy light or a bruised darkness,
grace or sorrow, the sparrow or the snake,
whether the boat powering for the sea
rushes lonely from a failed life or hurries
joyous toward reunion, is not for me to know.
Here, the breeze to cool your brow as you
name truth from falsehood. Work complete,
here a round of aromatic soap, soft towel
to cleanse and dry the body, this sheet
stiffened in the sun I have tucked and smoothed
for your dreams. That you may discover
the phrase, the form, the hue of your longing,
I have offered my simple attentions. Take them
with pleasure. Whether my service had
meaning or was a wasted life, is in your care.


Copyright © 2020 by Gaylord Brewer. All rights reserved. Gaylord Brewer is a professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. His books include a cookbook-memoir, The Poet’s Guide to Food, Drink, & Desire, and Worship the Pig, from which this poem is excerpted.