The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Keith Dunlap
What if there was no gravity,
if no body was drawn to another
by a constant invisible force,
if the distant galaxies already dead
were doomed to drift apart?
A man, so old each fragile step
experiments in finding the ground,
pulls behind him a little red cart
in which sits the type of ugly dog
that’s a mixture of angry breeds.
But this one is as happy as a dog can be,
happy to sniff this or that rancid smell
drifting on the August breeze,
knowing full well that this holy life
is its own mysterious key.
The heart cannot become the heart again,
but like a valentine can only signify,
a paper cut-out of a shadow pasted
into the album of our scurrying days.
You are laughing at me and not with me.
It’s all some horrible mistake,
as if the gods emerging from the clouds,
or from the mists or cloudy mists or seas,
first handle all my rash decisions for me,
but then trudge homeward in the end,
taking with them their ambiguous signs—
the smoking innards, the jay that passes on the right.
Their watchful absence leaves us alone to fend
for ourselves, our disenchantments, and our lies,
counting the minutes until the next installment
of our favorite show: The Human Game,
in which each contestant gets to blame the other
for things that didn’t happen as intended,
and each one gets a prize in consolation:
the daughter of a priest, enduring shame,
a wooden decoy duck that has been passed
from generation to generation untouched.
All of this is what now counts as luck,
the distant clanging of a bell,
just as I happened to look up and see your face,
your features scrambling in confusion,
as if you could no longer tell,what it was you were hoping I might say.
Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication