Vapor of Breath
All hail Michigan Dogman. All
slobber and standing seven feet
tall, Michigan Dogman sounds
howls like he’s missing a muffler
yet we’re never quite sure if it was
him or the highway. Keep quiet
you whisper at me. I want to hear
the Dogman sing. And I want to
believe in a world, in a Michigan
where the Dogman’s low bellow
cuts like a last-ditch dagger through
the cloth of the night as it falls.
But this evening again the joke’s
on us. Sitting here on the porch
I notice you’ve developed a rapid pant
even before I turn to look and
behold the dangle of a lolling tongue
out of your open maw. And I mean
behold: all seven feet of you shines
a silver not so often seen in this
peninsula. In all the excitement
I scramble and get stuck by a splinter
in the pad of my paw. It hurts like
my mother always did each day dad
didn’t come back or maybe more
like the harsh nights when he did.
I cry out in pain. There it is again you say.
After the Fact
At the theatre I saw a man pretend
to float around just by timing his jumps right
between the parts of the strobe light where
the dark gets its chance to flash
for once. He made it all the way across
the stage which stunned me senseless until
I saw him out of breath on the other side.
Of course the jig was up: if you’re going
to fly you have to act like nothing’s happened
after the fact—this is the first rule.
The second one you find out in the air
is something I’ve been prone to believe.
Around here, the strike of lightning
hits more like a splash, like a flat hand
slaps the face of the lake palm open,
like give me all the far-off light
you’ve got but bring some red swell
and sting while you’re at it. Bring no rain.