We May Name Them

We may give them names
but they are still monsters –
whales, sharks, bears, crocodiles,
formless and glass-skinned behemoths
of the lower oceans; we will
find them and we will name them,
we will see this as our mastery of
nature, of monstrous and mangling
beasts, tamed and contained,
a name in the mouth of mankind.

We may give them names
but they still have tusks, fangs,
a man may feel nothing to hear the name
“tiger”
until it is shouted in fearful night
and he will feel his blood
thinning to slick an endless gully –
and he will not forget
the sight of a body,
much like his own,
rent, torn, chewed flesh dripping –
a name in the mouth of a monster.

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.