Today's poem is by Steven Reese


While we're asleep, the brain tends
To the animals.
It drops the electric fence
And they hurry out, they've waited all day.
They wander through town
Down the middle of streets, it's alright,
They know the benevolent mayor here
And his brother the butcher
Who sits outside the locked door
Of his shop and smokes
A joint, watching and laughing.

But while they play there's one comes out Just to feed.
And means business.
We give it the scraps of our waking
Hours, the undigested reading,
The leftover paperwork.
All day it sits loathing our little completions,
Our balanced checkbooks, our good loving
And sent letters; and our competence,
Anyone blowing the smallest horn
Of praise for us—
It paces, drags its deaf ear around the cage.

But let us get started
On gun control, on crime, on our own
Undervalued worth, anything we can't
Resolve or conclude, and it perks up, it smacks
Its lips.
We say capital punishment, it
Turns on its back and wriggles against
The cement. We say republican, democrat,
It sits up and licks itself.

It loves our impossible children
Like its own pups. It loves how we sit there
And picture ourselves in other jobs,
With other lovers.
We check the clock, it purrs.
It goes moony over our lists of errands,
It can smell a feast of the not-done.

So later, someone beside us wakes
To our gnashing and grinding, shoves us
Halfway to the brink of consciousness,
And it steps back from the trough.
But not for long.
And it will be hours, yet, till the thin air
Of our failures fills it up

And it lopes back behind the fence
With the others and we sit at daybreak
At the bed's edge testing
The sore hinge of the jaw, trying to recall
Why Audrey Hepburn needed our help
So desperately.

Copyright © 2013 Steven Reese All rights reserved
from American Dervish
Salmon Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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