Rebecca Gayle Howell

How to Wean a Hog

Bait her away
from the warm teat

with cereal
powdered milk


After that she will eat
your waste

Raise the animal
to trust you

and it won’t matter
what you bring her

She will scuttle to the fence
snorting steam

when she hears you beating
the slop bucket drum

when she doesn’t see you
coming with her human eyes

Rebecca Gayle Howell is the author of Render /An Apocalypse (CSU, 2013), which was selected by Nick Flynn for the Cleveland State University First Book Prize. She is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri’s Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation (Alice James Books, 2011). Among her awards are two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and a Pushcart Prize. Native to Kentucky, Howell is the Poetry Editor at Oxford American.