Head Cheese | wisconsinacademy.org
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Head Cheese

Third-place 2016 Poetry Contest Winner

In dim light
Grandma sits at her table
shaving fat and flesh
from the pig’s skull
swick swick swick
her knife slices
through bristled skin
past cartilage and brain

she’ll press meat into
a jellied loaf.

The body hacksawed in half
cut gristle, bone and blood
lies cold and splayed
in Grandma’s storeroom.
waiting to be severed
snipped and cooked for suppers.

At bedtime Grandma
reaches for my foot
flick flick flick
she tweaks my row of toes
Tom Bumble
Penny Lou
Louie Whistle
Maya Hassa …
Grandma holds my little piggy
waits for me to shriek

I giggle and lay my head
on feather pillow.


Nancy Bauer-King is a retired United Methodist clergywoman who wrote sermons for 25 years. A life-long resident of Wisconsin, Bauer-King has lived much of her long life in the southern part of the state.

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