Some nights a wild dog scratches
a circle & lies down at the edge
of the yard. Everyone knows he’s killed
the missing cat. He’ll do it again.
I once read an introduction to Buddhism
to cure my mind. In the slantways snow
I made lists of facts.
Hummingbirds weigh less than an ounce.
The dog wakes, rushes toward the wood.
Then it realizes which world it’s in
& lies down again. I’ve built such towers
to house my doubt. I write love stories
that aren’t really love stories.
Vultures will eat so much
they can’t take off, you know.
& this dog in the snow,
it’s got mange & fleas
& blood in its ears. I’m the worst
Buddhist because I want something
out of everything. Even this dog
I want to fit into the story.
I try to picture myself before this was so.
Strange animals appear in this vision.
Bill Neumire writes and teaches in Syracuse, New York, where he lives with his wife and pit bull. He has recent poems appearing or forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and Hawk & Wippoorwill, as well as recent book reviews in RATTLE and Canada’s Vallum. His first full-length manuscript, Dog Songs, is seeking publication.
Homepage photograph via Flickr by Heidi Uusitorppa