Polite Animals

The dogs are waiting patiently for
any hand to feed;
the birds line up in neat little galleries;
the cats bob their heads – good day, good day –
as they saunter the streets in
their white-glove affairs.
We see the human in them,
we think, though perhaps,
humans are simple and
quite polite animals.

dog days

some dogs remember they are wolves,
and nurse the tender bruise of this knowledge;
some dogs remember that men and gods
reached past their teeth and
took fear from their mouths,
lashed and kicked and fed them,
chained and muzzled them and
left them dead in hundreds.
some dogs believe in mere survival,
some dogs find solace in their daily meals,
their isolation,
even the hands holding angry tooth-brushes,
reaching into their docile mouths,
daring the old fear to show itself one last time.

Gone Off Alone

Here in the shadows of a Pennsylvania motel,
nothing near by a mile, and
red scratching the tile,
I think about a dog I knew so long ago
That felt its time was nigh
and, limping beneath the barn’s crawlspace
Curled up, alone, to die –
Maybe every beast should be noble
enough to hide its pain.
Maybe all these wicked thoughts
are just a sickness of the brain-
So I curl up beneath the clawing linens,
and wait for the sun to rise again.