In a Pig's Eye

He wasn't plump and pink like the others, and he couldn't
compete. Finally, tired of being bumped and butted and
shoved away, he dragged himself to a corner of the pen
and lay on his side.

"Can't we help him? Can't we feed him somehow?"
I asked grandpa.

"No, no. It's nature's way, a sign of healthy farrowing actually.
Better to have too many than too few. Maximizes life's sum,
don't you see. The sow knows best, and even she won't help
him."

"He'll die."

"Yes, it won't be long."

I watched his tiny ribs move up and down. The pen was
spacious and filled with straw. His siblings were only playful.
They didn't torture or tear him. Occasionally one would dance
over to sniff him, then spring away to romp with the others.

The next morning I hurried to the barn. He lay as he had been,
but perfectly still...perfect in his stillness.

"It's over," I thought and leaned close to look at his round blue eye,
still clear, it seemed. And then...

...it blinked.

I recoiled in horror and ran to the house, to my room. Seized by an
irrational terror, I lay shaking for several minutes. Then...being still
a child...I prayed.

"Please God, the sow knows best, and grandpa knows best, and
You know best. But don't let him linger. And please God, let the last
thing he sees be stars shining through the loft or the moon passing
or just a white cloud, but please God, please don't let the last thing
have been ME."