Poems / September 5, 2023

Xenotransplantation

Sam Sax

my friend’s got a pig heart in him.
my friend’s got part of a pig’s heart,
a piece, his heart’s part pig.
the aortic valve is the dog-god
guarding the tube blood runs
through once it’s been scrubbed
clean. one of two semilunar
valves which sounds like a part
of a moon, a piece. my friend’s
got moons in him separating
the two major atria. my friend’s
full of ballrooms, those dark
vaulted ceilings. my friend’s a vegan.
my friend’s a vegan with a pig heart
thumping club music. my friend
believes the pig in him is vegan
since it eats what he eats,
speaks when he speaks. the pig
heart pulses in his chest
like a reflection of the moon
in a puddle out behind the club
once we’ve finished dancing.
my friend takes drugs so his body
doesn’t reject the organ. my friend
takes drugs so he can go on
dancing. his pig grown to be
sewn into a man’s ribs, unnaturally
selected, no god could have
predicted this in any garden.
still holy the bit of tissue
that lets him live & live.
thin filament that set another
seventeen years going inside him.
if you listen with one ear
to his chest you can hear
the pig heart singing, calling
out to any listening animal:
all i. want is. to live. & live.
& live. & live. & live. & live.

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Sam Sax

Sam Sax is the author of Madness (Penguin, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Terrance Hayes. His second book, Bury It, will be out on Wesleyan University Press in 2018.

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