The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ghost Dogs by Dion O’Reilly

Why Did I Call My Pig?

I watched my mother call her,
watched my sister too.
My father tried to catch her.
She was quick, my piebald oinker.
Her squeals greased the air.

She knew the jig was up,
ran to the farthest corner, down
by the creek and the steep ravine,
hid in shadows under oak trees,
rooting prickled leaves and acorns
with her wet ringed snout.

My huge baby, companion
on aimless teenage days
when I balanced on the fencepost,
listening to her belly-deep rumble,
stick-scratched her itchy,
thick-skinned back.

The butcher with a rifle,
stood impatient by his Chevy truck,
its hook and chain ready
to haul the limp sow up,
to scrape the skin and slice the stomach
in a thin red line, bowels spilling
glazy as moonstones.

Forgive me. To show off my small power,
I called her—the one she loved—
and she came running.

This selection comes from Ghost Dogs, available from Terrapin Books. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Sunni Brown Wilkinson.

Dion O’Reilly’s first book, Ghost Dogs, was published in February 2020 by Terrapin Books. Her work appears in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Narrative, Sugar House Review, New Letters, New Ohio Review, Rattle, The Sun, and other literary journals and anthologies. She facilitates ongoing poetry workshops in a farmhouse full of wild art and is a member of the Hive Poetry Collective which produces radio shows, podcasts, and events in Santa Cruz. (

Sunni Brown Wilkinson’s poetry can be found in Western Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, SWWIM, Crab Orchard Review and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019, finalist for the Hudson Prize) and The Ache & The Wing (forthcoming 2021, winner of Sundress’s 2020 Chapbook Prize).  She also won New Ohio Review’s NORward Poetry Prize and the 2020 Joy Harjo Prize from Cutthroat Literary Magazine. She teaches at Weber State University and lives in northern Utah with her husband and three sons.