The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Saturday

By Ken Babstock

That dog padded home wearing a rip
in his back, clicked onto the kitchen linoleum
with a five-inch smile down his saddling spine.

Where pebbles and dark grit stuck to the wound's
lips, vertebrae like molars grinned through
in an anemic bluish white. The dumb grey

meat of his tongue like a sodden flag waiting
for breeze in the post-storm still of that house--
how he lashed the plucked chicken length of it,

then lapped at the seepage that hung from black
flews. He turned, and turned, and in turning sparks
of shock shot from his eyes as his chances of seeing

pain dimmed, coiled to a brute whine in his chest, I
pictured a bald nest of lab mice pulsing in there
crying its cancer away; pictured a shed door, askew

on its hinges, mowing thick weeds as it swung; even
pictured a field in that dog, where choirs of crickets
sawed through the night with the ache in their legs.

I could smell the top-heavy cattails' thinning brown
felt as it burst, breathing commas on parachutes
into the world; heard the travelling s's of garter snakes

playing wet grass blades with cadmium scales as
they passed through invisible shivers. A lost leather
sneaker shone near a stump, like a child's plug-in

night-light, or a chipped-off sample of moon. Blue
shell casings coughed funnelled web from the throats
where their packed shot had been, and bleached-out

pages of porn doubled as mainsails, fitted to masts
of wild rose. Dew, meltwater cold, slid down my calves
like wet wrists unburdening jewels in my boots. Then no one

I knew approached through the dark, swinging a carved
column of light, prodding the bramble and weeds with
his staff that worked like a blind man's stick in reverse.

The mauve starbursts of thistles passed through it, casting
peaked shadows like crowns. Bugs strafed the beam, reared
from the black, threading it again, and again. He didn't

call out or raise his free hand or even target his lamp
on my head, just kept cresting the weeds with the twin
brows of his knees while scanning the foreground

for snags. Whether it was that he couldn't imagine me
there, and therefore I wasn't, or that my body actually
weighed in at nothing, doused as it was in that field's

feral moulting, bucking, breathing--its bull-stubborn
morphing of intrauterine moments--I couldn't decide.
There wasn't time. He passed on the left, dragged by

this light as if some shadowy leashed mastiff tractored
him on, plunging through weed. Solid black silhouette, receding,
until distance undermined outline, form bled into field.


The above poem is, needless to say, in honor of Sirius Black. And Remus Lupin because the imagery reminded me of him in a field at night. (I'd promise to stop sometime soon but I'm not sure I will.)

It's pouring, the baseball and soccer have both been called off, the kids have a bowling party from 4-6 and we are considering braving the HP crowds to go see Shrek 2 since we already have HP tickets for the family for Tuesday afternoon. Am hoping the party will break up in time for us to watch the Belmont, even though, officially, I do not approve of that sort of horse racing. What a loser I am.

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