WHEN PIGS FLY
WHEN PIGS FLY
or, as in his dream in the pre-dawn of the fifth
day of the Zen retreat, when they glide….
He’s climbing a steep, ornate staircase
in some vast palatial building, the staircase narrowing
then abruptly ending.
He looks for the next flight of stairs, or
even a landing, is met with nothing
but a blank wall, much like the one
he’s been facing these last days.
Panicked, he looks back down the staircase
as it zigs and zags, landing after landing,
disappearing into the fetid gloom below.
Gripped by fear and vertigo,
he looks again at the obdurate
white wall in front of him, when
a gift from the archetypal and not unhumorous
world of dreams, appears — a handle
and a bright, painted sign that says “Open!”
As he turns the handle, something begins to slide
out of the wall — a huge, pink, plastic pig,
looking like one of those old-time merry-go-round creatures.
The pig, too, sports little hand-holds
here and there on its surface with neatly
printed signs, “Grab me” and “Hang on tight.”
He mounts the pig,
now warm and alive and soft,
a sow; he’s certain because he whispers
into the soft bristles of her ear, something
like, “What now?” or “Where to next?”
He spurs her gently with his bare heels
and she moves slowly away from the wall,
begins to glide in a long, shallow spiral
From far below music floats up,
something stately and baroque at first
that changes into a soulful folksong
as they float down.
Somehow, he feels elated and safe, grateful
as he continues to ride the pig down.
Now, the floor of the voluminous atrium
changes into a vast plain seen
below indistinctly through skeins of mist.
Still they spiral down, the dreamer
and his dream pig, until the ground
finally appears clearly.
With one more graceful quarter arc,
the pig lands with a squishing slide just
as the morning sun slants in and lights up
the familiar pig-pen world
with its rollicking and terrible life,
its incandescent pearly mud.