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A poem for February by Joseph O’Brien

February: “Portrait of Pig”

After a picture by Jamie Wyeth

February—(Februarius (mensis), (month) of purification

februa>, expiatory offerings, poss. of Sabine orig.)

The American Heritage College Dictionary

  • I
  • In this trim girth of days came Valentine,
  • A lover of trash, slurper of pre-chewed
  • Dinner, rooter of other people’s food:
  • How I loved you, remembering how fine
  • A day, warm for the month, which roofed your birth.
  • Snow dripped like grease from barn steeples and eaves;
  • (It is a false spring which cruelly deceives
  • Farmyard children in the naked pink of earth.)
  • Father spared you from his largesse, but said,
  • Handing your squealing tininess to me,
  • “Love demands a sacrifice, so don’t be
  • Surprised when it’s asked.” You felt, then, like lead
  • In my arms, Valentine, my heaving loved one,
  • Born this month of slops and expiation.
  • II
  • The pork report comes over the radio
  • From across the river in Iowa,
  • Dividing your life into a ratio
  • Of belly futures to null viscera:
  • Such magnitudes only portraits contain –
  • The amethyst squint of your tiny eyes,
  • Your humanoid expanse of facial strain.
  • These held your pride, like a swarm of flies,
  • To cluster and swell, gold in pinked oils.
  • Now stretched on hooks above my hearth and gone
  • From all but memory’s greedy taste for spoils,
  • You strut your prized shanks with ribbons undone.
  • So fame is broadcast for you who were penned
  • For February forecasts, this runt-month’s end.

Joseph O’Brien is the poetry editor for the San Diego Reader.

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Placism!

After a picture by Jamie Wyeth

February—(Februarius (mensis), (month) of purification

februa>, expiatory offerings, poss. of Sabine orig.)

The American Heritage College Dictionary

  • I
  • In this trim girth of days came Valentine,
  • A lover of trash, slurper of pre-chewed
  • Dinner, rooter of other people’s food:
  • How I loved you, remembering how fine
  • A day, warm for the month, which roofed your birth.
  • Snow dripped like grease from barn steeples and eaves;
  • (It is a false spring which cruelly deceives
  • Farmyard children in the naked pink of earth.)
  • Father spared you from his largesse, but said,
  • Handing your squealing tininess to me,
  • “Love demands a sacrifice, so don’t be
  • Surprised when it’s asked.” You felt, then, like lead
  • In my arms, Valentine, my heaving loved one,
  • Born this month of slops and expiation.
  • II
  • The pork report comes over the radio
  • From across the river in Iowa,
  • Dividing your life into a ratio
  • Of belly futures to null viscera:
  • Such magnitudes only portraits contain –
  • The amethyst squint of your tiny eyes,
  • Your humanoid expanse of facial strain.
  • These held your pride, like a swarm of flies,
  • To cluster and swell, gold in pinked oils.
  • Now stretched on hooks above my hearth and gone
  • From all but memory’s greedy taste for spoils,
  • You strut your prized shanks with ribbons undone.
  • So fame is broadcast for you who were penned
  • For February forecasts, this runt-month’s end.

Joseph O’Brien is the poetry editor for the San Diego Reader.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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