Dogs know how to live and die with grace.
I don’t.
In my hands are wet grapes fit to burst
And beyond my reach
A glass of wine
I’ll never swallow,
Like a sticky creek
That catches in the earth’s muddy maw.
When nighttime chews up
Dusk with starry teeth
I become ravenous,
I stalk my domesticity
With savage ennui,
Like a hawk that can neither
Fly nor chew with its mouth closed.
I love this wolf asleep in my lap,
His fur as soft as fresh lawn clippings,
His gentle flicked-tongue kisses
And his incessant wagging tail.
Does he recall or resent
What time and man
Have changed in him? Do I?
Of what stuff am I made—
Carpet or coal?
Wind or windmill?
We dig trenches for war,
Trenches for bones.
We sometimes obey ourselves,
Sometimes obey others.
We are so alike, so different.
Our quiet yard looks
Out upon train tracks,
And beyond them woods
And roads and trails and forests
And hikers and hawks.
I press my ear upon the seashell
Of the universe
And hear the hiss-howl
Of raw iron tamed into the scythe,
And wonder how to harvest myself
Before the season changes
And wild weeds
Flourish in the plowed grave
Of my confused aspirations.