Where Sleeping Dogs Give the Lie

The dog of faith curled herself around our house,
Irreplaceable as the light only
October sheds, that desperate month which counts
Darkness by its end, going as far as any month
Will go to dilute seasons into days.

The dog of hope grew for spring and the rabbits vanished,
Disappearing one by one, day by day,
Through sunlit cracks in the rose bush, circumventing
The rain- and hoof-rutted cow paths, parting seas
Of alfalfa and cowslips into pastured abyss.

But love’s a dog that whimper-grunts in her sleep.
We heard her clear as light from that old lamp
You bought at auction from the neighboring sorrows
Of a failed farm. Its light shed differences.
In our room – its glow lost nothing between darkness

And absence, splintering walls into shadows
And trapping moist eyes like stars alert with distance.
That Indian summer evening outside our window,
Farmland’s proximate darkness
Spreading its old throw rug around her, she grew deaf

To moonshine and growled a drowsy anthem
To runaway dreams. Snapping judgments at ghosted hares,
Did she feel the jugular breath of acres,
The pulse of territory marked,
Pressing her movements beyond instincts?

In our own sleep we knew she was running now –
Desperate to unearth her bit of anonymous dirt,
The unspeakable plot in a fallow hayfield,
Where she catches her animal need in terminus,
The wilderness patch our children would soon

Forget like undergrowth slowly maturing
To overwhelm the play of their forest paths.
So busy with their own unrepentant growth,
They look on blindly at such remote finalities,
As if outrun by love’s four legs, too late to find

The buried bones that leave a sleeping dog to lie.


  1. Makes me want to go to all my old playing haunts.
    So sad to remember Clara. She was truly a good ol’ dog. Thanks, Papa.

  2. Amen.

  3. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Clay lies still, but blood’s a rover;
    Breath’s a ware that will not keep.

  4. Jonathan Potter says

    Magnificence. You are a dogged poet, sir.

  5. Good job, sir.

  6. Quin Finnegan says

    Thanks JOB. Great stuff. I’d be a lot better off if I were a little deaf to moonshine …

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