Pigs Foot

  ‘Pig’s foot, pig’s foot!’ 

My mother vaults the words over 

the Woolie’s meat counter,

shouting it louder and louder

just as she called family names across 

the flat, white roofs of her village.

No friendly echo here,

just a sneer from 

the Anglo girl guarding

lamb chops, Epping sausages and 

a mesmerising log of mettwurst.

My five-year-old eyes

scale the skyscraper of curved glass,

roll with the sweep

of my mother’s semaphore,

reel back to the rufous cheeks of

the Viking-blonde meat-maiden,

queen of this carnal Valhalla,

whose satellite-dish ears are 

too rusted to receive 

this new Australian’s signal.

‘Peeg’s fooot, peeg’s fooot, heeve peeg’s foot?’

The alien sounds thicken 

into a stew of stretched English vowels 

and lisped consonants

splattering from her lips.

‘Peeg’s fooot, peeg’s fooot,’  

she mimes a charade 

of the pig’s trotter my father needs

to make the pork in aspic dish

he continued to cook 

until his last days in this diaspora.

Her query hangs,

frantic and unrequited 

in the supermarket’s redolent air

and we go without that magic bowl

with its little sea of soupy jelly,

bay leaf, pepper and pork,

conjured from 

the throw-away parts of the pig.

They, the poor,

used all the animal

slaughtered in the names of their saints

and only ever on Holy feasts.

Between beasts 

it was just beans and bread.

Maria Vouis is an emerging poet who specialises in form, Spoken Word and poetic craft, teaching adults and younger students. In 2018 she won a manuscript prize for Friendly Street New Poets 19, called ‘Eye Print’, judged by Thom Sullivan. She was also a finalist in the Goolwa 2017 Poetry Slam for Mr Lizard Lips. She sings, speaks and writes poetry.

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