Poem #3: Prose poetry chain

Christian Peet


I met a traveler from an antique land, who said: When in your Texas I met a rancher trimming the hooves of a three-legged pig. Asked how it came to pass, that his pig had lost a leg, he exclaimed, "That pig's a genuine H-E-R-O! Rescued my youngest daughter from our neighbor's pit bull, she wasn't but knee-high to the same."

A hero indeed, I said. A shame, though, the rescue cost the pig his leg.

"Oh no," said the rancher, "That's not how it happened. That was just his first heroic act. A year later he saved our whole family from a housefire, dead of night. Woke us squealing, a flashlight in his mouth, guided us through the smoke. He made the local news that time. Decided afterwards to become a firefighter, dedicate his life to helping others. Your people heard of 9/11? Yeah? Well, he was there. The North Tower ... terrible ... Of course, Afghanistan and Iraq came next. Beset on all sides by towelheads rigged to explode! His comrades sitting beside him, sharing a joke in the Humvee one minute, the next reduced to so many smoldering sausages."

It was then I guessed an improvised explosive device had taken the pig's leg.

"No, that wasn't it," said the rancher. He held his hat to his chest and began again, in a whisper: "You may remember a certain flood in New Orleans, bitch named Katrina? Well, the pig was called home, being part of the National Guard and all. And even in that swirling toilet of a city, he rose above. Yes, sir. Saved an old woman from drowning. Black, too, if you can imagine. Proves some pigs are born heroes—and remain heroes—no matter where cruel fate may force them to serve."

Stunned, I still could not help but inquire—had the pig lost his leg in New Orleans?

"No," said the rancher. "I cut it off. Did I forget that part? Good lord, a pig like that, you can't just eat him all at once."

Read poem #4

Christian Peet

Christian Peet is the author of the forthcoming Big American Trip (Shearsman Books, 2009) and the first installment of an ongoing project, The Nines, which appears as a chapbook from Palm Press (2006) and is available from Small Press Distribution. His work is forthcoming in the anthology A Best Of Fence: The First Nine Years, and can be found in journals such as Bird Dog, Drunken Boat, Fascicle, Octopus Magazine, Pom2, Practice: New Writing + Art and SleepingFish. Peet lives in Vermont, where he runs Tarpaulin Sky Press.