The Learned Pig

Art – Thinking – Nature – Writing

Laura Culham, Bar of soap, gnawed by rodent

Soap / Eternity / Rendering


Do what you want, live how you want.
Get it behind your ears and all over
     the skin you want.
Do not think about machines.

Read what you will, focus your eyes on
     grime and slime and free will.
Or grace, at the pace of the golden mean.
We will watch you as you preen.

Get it behind your eyes, to whatever
     depth you desire.
Do not worry about Greek fire.
Do what you want, live how you want.

The water keeps it clean.


The Learned Pig



Out of eternity and sliced thin by earthen alloys
comes this brown paper bag borrowed from
the sweet pulp behind the dead hard bark
of oak or conifer or maple, the staples—
with a little hope and a lot of rain
     —of eternity.

We put things in the bag. Too much will tear out
the bottom, too little and our bag
might get swept up into the wind.
     No matter, its matter
will decay back into eternity.

From eternity, too, come the things we’ll carry.
The love, the hate, the innovation and indifference,
the cream cheese and climate change.
     Over time,
our triteness will amass in dumps with great weight,
filling the landfills or lightly floating
     over forever’s breeze.

Somewhere, there are bagels. And elsewhere,
perhaps in aisle seventeen, are those
little cardboard coffee cup holders.

Of course we’ll need more coffee, too.


The Learned Pig



Informal and unkind,
the sun reached. It bleached past
her curtains, past the plaid-lined
purple skirt she so detested, and at last

rendered her bedroom’s contents
pure, if not demure. The glare
returned the innocence
to what defined her

by design. Now she peels
with ease. Sunny-faced, at last,
she strips her shame with ease, feels

fresh and clean as white pleats fall into line.
For anything not there cannot be seen,
so there is fine.

after Edna St. Vincent Millay

Part of The Learned Pig’s Clean Unclean editorial season, March-May 2015.

Image credit: Laura Culham, Bar of soap, gnawed by rodent, 2015


The Learned Pig