The Swine Stick in My Mind [Mark 5:13]

It’s unbiblical to be sentimental

about swine. We are talking about

a herd of unromantic

Gentile meat and money, not

a herd of barnyard Wilburs,

pink and plump,

with plucky spiders for friends.

That said, the pigs stick in my mind.

I read commentaries.

I know the ways of different cultures,

ancient worldviews.

I understand the politics,

the story’s ethical edges.

Its justice dimensions have

preaching potential.

I should warm to it but

I hate what happened to the pigs.

I know that a bedeviled man

who was deader than

the corpses in the graveyard

where he spent his nights and days

in lacerating pain now sits adoring

at your feet, serene and safe.

It moves me that you thought

his sad hidden life

worth saving,

worth it too the ire of hard rustic men

who watched big money drown

in churning seas that day,

but this is still

one of those stories

I wish

no one had recorded.

The pigs stay with me all the way over the cliff,

and I am so astonished by you,

Jesus.

You could do everything,

even asking blind men,

What do you want me to do for you?

and then when they told you

you did it no trouble,

but for some reason, for some reason

we will never know,

you could not,

would not write “Some Wilburs”

in a web of creature

love.

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