Thursday, January 5, 2012

white dog

i know why the caged white dog sings
back there behind the old man’s house
where the field of collards and turnips grow green
under an asphalt sky at dusk
night is coming
and she paces to one corner
then the other corner
and the great blue heron takes off
like a b-52 from the pond’s edge
his shadow crosses her white back
she jumps like an easy spring
to the roof of her little white house
there she balances on the roof
she sings loud
her voice is loosed over the chain link fence --
the sound of her rises and crosses the street
to ricochet against the red barn
a flapping tin roof catches on a nail
and clears the way for her mourning howl
so that it can fly across the plow
and the tractor for sale
and the trailer where that lady used to live
the white dog’s song rises over the sweet gums
and the pin oaks and the iron woods
and brushes a possum and shutters a squirrel
the black birds coil around her low notes
as they descend to the creek
and mix with the green cold water
that talks over the soft stones
the white dog breathes deep and lets go again
her chorus hits the side of the old man’s house
and shakes the jars filled with last summer’s tomatoes
to the edge of the shelf and the old man opens one eye
and turns over on his sofa while the tv makes his dreams
the white dog’s song goes out his front door
makes the mistletoe sway under the little christmas lights
that should have come down by now
her voice runs through the carport
under his dead wife’s cadillac
past the planters of pansies crystal with ice like candy flowers
the white dog’s howl rides on the scent of last night’s fox
down the logging road
past the waiting deer hunter
louder than the shots of his gun
the white dog lays down her peace
raises her sharp saber tail
her song scatters vultures
on the side of the highway
skitters through bare honeysuckle
where the junkos roost roundly
the white dog’s song goes down with the last of the day’s light
and up with the moon that fades with fog

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