Sons, Mothers, and Silk Purses out of Sow’s Ears

The smell of a good pig’s always been the aroma of home to me.

And the steady rhythm of a sow grunting low when she lets down her milky waterfall for a whole litter of rooting pigs, this is a song of old, slow comfort, the milk and honey that runs free and sweet in the land of the brave and the farmers.

I stand in the barn doorway and listen with Malakai. He’s grinning. It’s an anthem, nursing time, the music of the mothers, milk dripping, piglets lapping.

He will remember this, wherever the hand of God takes him, he will remember this.

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“See his milk mustache, Mom? He’s licking milk, Mom.” Kai holds up the little ham for me to see, his snout a foam of warmth.

He’s learned how to hold a pig so that the pig rests easy and squeals lay all quiet — so the pig feels safe. His smile gives me mine, us bent over a pig. He’s wore a hole clear through the left knee of those pants, lanky life coming out everywhere. Soon enough, this boy’s a man, I can see it. There is a way a mother can hold a son safe, a way that she can cup exactly who he is in an unconditionality, a love that cradles like a radical grace. Am I too old to learn?

“Don’t you like it in here, Mom?”

Kai pulls the pig up on his lap, snuggles that snout close.

I kneel down on the floor beside him, sow song filling our ears, piglets all pushing close with hungry bellies. Yes, son, here.

Here, our God making silk purses out sow’s ears, feeding the runts on now’s cream.

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