A Hog Meeting its God

José Emilio Pacheco

I am seven. On the farm, I watch

through a window as a man crosses himself

then proceeds to slaughter a hog.

I don’t want to watch the spectacle.

Almost human are the

premonitory cries.

(Nearly human, zoologists tell us,

are the organs of the intelligent hog,

more, even, than dog or horse.)

God’s creatures, my mother calls them.

Brother hog, St. Francis would have said.

Now but butchered flesh and dripping blood.

And I am a child but I ask myself:

Did God create hogs only for us to eat?

Whom does He answer, the prayer of the hog

or the man who crossed himself and then slit its throat?

If God exists, why most this hog suffer?

The flesh bubbles in the oil.

Soon, I will be stuffing myself like a hog.


But I shall not cross myself at table.




Pacheco, José Emilio. "A Hog Meeting its God." An Ark for the Next Millennium: Poems. Trans. Margaret Sayers Peden. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993. p. 119.

Comment Box is loading comments...