The Legends and the Way We Used to Live

Photograph by Jose Padua
When I was young they told me the legend
of the spontaneously combusting hogs. How
they’d burst into flames and become roast pork
right in the middle of the road, before you could
even carry them to the village store to sell. People
would gather round for this sudden feast, pulling
their forks from their pockets, uncorking the wine
bottles they always carried in their backpacks
to be prepared, washing the meal down with
the fruity red fermentation as the spirit of the hog
made them feel like squealing, although they
never did, because squealing was always looked
down upon by their society. And when I grew up
I stopped listening to their stories, started walking
for miles far away from the city as these legends
faded into the past like the old characters
who used to live around corners or between
falling-down buildings. And as I grow old
I stay as far as I can from the edge
of the road, looking down to the grass
and stones, forgetting more than just these
stories of feasts and the many ways we used
to celebrate in the days before you were born.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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