Baker, Aaron

United States, (contemporary)

Chimbu Wedding

  1. When the villagers stake out a hundred pigs
  2. and two men wade in with clubs,
  3. watch how they float, cold as light out of heaven,
  4. above the scene. When the pigs scream
  5. and buckle with their skulls caved in,
  6. remember that not one thing in this world
  7. will be spared. Not one leaf. Not one
  8. hair on a child’s head. See the women
  9. hauling rocks to the fire-pits,
  10. the boys kneeling to collect blood
  11. in banana leaves, and think of St. Peter’s
  12. vision: cloven-hoofed creatures descending
  13. on a sheet, the sky saying “Take, eat.”
  14. Learn to sit in the smoke with hunger sated
  15. as children play with bladders they’ve inflated
  16. like balloons. Learn a new language
  17. for fellowship, and when you walk home
  18. through the fields see if you can translate
  19. the gloam-wrapped mountain’s whisper
  20. as Come. Then, if there is a place
  21. prepared for the saints, you will know
  22. which way to turn at the crossroads.
  23. You will not trouble the angel at the garden
  24. gate for a way past her sword. You will
  25. not remember what blood washed you clean.

© Aaron Baker
Poetry. Vol. CLXXIX, No. 6, March 2002.

About the Poet

Aaron Baker, US poet, spent his childhood in a remote part of the Chimbu Highlands in Papua, New Guinea, where his parents were missionaries.

He is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He holds a B.A. from Central Washington University and was a Henry Hoyns Fellow at the University of Virginia, which granted him an M.F.A. Baker’s work has been published in the Potomac Review and the Blue Moon Review. [DES-6/03]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.