Today's poem is by Eleanor Lerman

Dog Years

Look, I'm sure you knew how the story was
supposed to go, but didn't believe it. No one
who comes from the kind of place where we did
is that nice—or stupid. Meat on a plate was
never going to be served in restaurants, but run
to ground in some evil alley that would later be
the scene of all performances, paid and otherwise,
until such time as we wised up, which was always
            going to take years and years

And since it's clear that nothing will be given,
now comes the time to track down what can be
saved. You'll need a dog and a map of the stars,
neither of which will be found in any place that you
think to look, so think harder. Think like you live
in the underbelly, like no one knows you anymore,
            but still, you can't be stopped

Except, stop here, just for a moment: where there
is summer. Where there is this scene, composed
of fireflies, children, wet bathing suits on the porch
Yes, that house, where you did not live, which
was not yours, though something else was. Is.
Invisible and hungry. Lost, lost, lost, it says,
            and bares its teeth

But now it approaches you with an offer, fond
as it is of any woman who rescues a dog (did you
understand that was the clue?) So sit a while,
with your animal, at the edge of the family group
in the hour that is suspended between then and now,
when the lights are coming on, the food is cooking,
the moon rising, and you are permitted to
            remember everything

Which you do. And then, when the stars appear,
continue on your way. Headed where?
That would be, wherever you are expected:
down the road, into or out of darkness
Certainly, though the distance may be
measured not in light but dog years,
the clues—as you have seen—are everywhere
All you have to do is follow them: the time
            was always meant to be now

Copyright © 2014 Eleanor Lerman All rights reserved
from Strange Life
Mayapple Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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