Today's poem is by Heather McHugh

My Heart to Fear

It's an illness in her, they think, seeing me kneel
in the sidewalked throng, to tilt a leaf
I talk the worm (by wary millimeters)
into climbing on; so I can bear him
clear of concrete, back to green.
The eyes of the healthy are on the sun;
and the heels of the healthy are not clean.

It's an illness to notice (in such scenery!)
how the carriage horse is hurt (he's harnessed badly,
bitten by the bit) or turn your western head away
at festivals of bare testosterone, where (having
snatched the calf from his peaceful tit) the grown-ups
terrify him, every whichway, through their hoops
and scorn. For the walls of health are bright
with blood, and the halls of health adorned with horn.

It can't be good, by God, I'm told,
to hate the way we need and name
the holy lowliness of beasts
(the cur your father cursed as
cowardly, the chicken chickenshit).
To man's the glory—others get

the crap and the crop and the coop.
Was Cain our proudest ancestor? Did the son
of a gun keep house with rue? No way!
His play could prey upon the ones
his lusting slew. His kids all grew up
having canines, craving muscle,
eating their fodders and fill. Among his kind,
good health's the blind

capacity to kill.

Copyright © 2008 Heather McHugh All rights reserved
from Gulf Coast
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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