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.