Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs

The magic of walls
is in dividing
the outside from the inside,
nature from man-made,
us from them.

Which of us,
who pines for the noble savage
and prays to the rural romantics
of an outdoor life,
would give up so easily
our world full of walls?

Which of us could keep
our hearts content,
our souls from torment,
if we were without structures
to keep the world at bay?

Many are the callers
who ring our bells
and knock our doors
hoping to sell
a little plastic miracle,
a suckle for our fears.

But which of us welcome
those smiling faces
clutching Watchtower
or a bag of dirt
to suck from our floors?
Which of us aren’t glad
to keep the wolf
from the door?

Three pig brothers
all became architects
and lived as differently
as those can
who once snatched teats
from each other’s mouths.

They built their own homes
in different styles
as showcases to their talent,
these pigs extraodinaire.

The youngest piggy built
his house out of straw.
A Tahitian fantasy,
a Caribbean retreat.
Pineapple stanchions,
and a banana leaf roof.

But a wolf came by
with a taste for pork
and asked to be let in
to this puerco-tamale
corn husk of a house.

“No!” said the suckling,
squealing in fear
in a terrycloth bathrobe
behind a wicker-wove chair.

So the wolf huffed
and he puffed
and he blew the house in,
a hurricane gust,
a tornado sneeze.

Little pig ran away
to his brother’s abode
and begged for protection
from the big, bad, wolf.

The second pig lived
in a country cabin
of hardwood oak logs.
Rough hewn and rustic
with hand-made quilts.

But the wolf came back
and asked to be let in
to this bacon and shortrib
hickory smokehouse.

The pigs squealed “NO!”
and quivered behind
the Mission table
and Navaho throw.

So the wolf huffed
and he puffed
and he blew the house in.
A forest of splinters,
a heavy damage zone.

The pigs ran away
to their older brother’s,
who lived in a suburb
and gave at the office.
He lived in a ranch home,
aluminum shutters
and red brick.

The wolf arrived
and demanded entrance
to the sausage and pepperoni
pizza-oven of a home.

The oldest pig asked,
Did the wolf have a warrant?
A subpoena to notice?
Did he have an appointment,
or a gasmeter man’s badge?
Did he see the sign
‘No Solicitations’
right under the notice
of the neighborhood watch?

The wolf huffed,
and he puffed,
and he blew his wad
on reinforced shingles
and aluminum siding,
on weather stripped windows
and an Astroturf lawn.
at its most tenacious.

So the wolf left for Arizona
to be in the sun,
and hunt with coyote,
and try his lungs
against adobe.

The younger pigs lived,
but in discomfort
with those nightmare
brown curtains,
and plastic wrapped sofas.
Those odd-shaped air fresheners
and beige painted walls.

But all three would grow
as quiet as prosciutto,
as still as a clove-spotted
holiday ham,
when the postman came,
or the newsboy stopped,
or that treacherous doorbell

For who can tell
when that next stranger approaches
if it’s a gift from a relative
long since forgotten,
if it’s cash from the lottery,
or a nice thing to buy.

Or if it’s the darkness
that waits to engulf us,
the jaws of the predator
with a taste for our lives.

- From Eating the Child Within,

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