Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Confession Before Dawn


She stretches and yawns. It is just before dawn
I think she wants love and I stroke her small frame.
But she noses toward the door and stifles a bark.
I let her out in the yard,
watching her fade into corners of blackness.

Blackness of body, blackness of night
blackness of memory,
she reminds me of Amos,
in the field by the shed, lying still on his side.

The specter rises cold in my mind that nothing from that time

was in my power to change
but the life of a dog.

I am sorry
I left you with them,
your hardened chin chiseled and stalwart against
cruelty and neglect
they destroyed you right under my nose.

With one eye he asks in shades of realization
"Do you know the sadness at the end of all things?
Or do the flowing waters of life say to you in ripples
that we had a good run against impossible winds?"

He was small and tight with singular vision
a lost eye measuring nothing, not a sliver between his death and mine.
His gaze follows a trail of shame
complicity and ignorance.

What is cowardice but choosing the wrong fight?
I could have swept him up and taken him away. But I didn't.
There were so many more sides than mine.

That's how I felt staring out in the night.

It was easier then,
submitting to the crush of defeat,
easier than making a small wise choice,
the desperation of tiny victories,
rather than believing in his seat at the table
and finding only a chair in a house on fire.

She ambles to the back door, and I greet her with a promise and a smile.

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