18 November 2012

Dog to Pain

Dog to Pain
                by D. Nurkse

In the slow-swift years, pain would lock me
long days in a narrow room with a fly and a water
re-emerge in a jangle of keys, and walk me down
                                                           those dim blocks
where small dead things in the gutter smell so
                                                                     fascinating --
free from pain. My leash was short, my collar tight,
but they could have been shorter and tighter. In the
                                                                brief moment
before dark, pain ruffled my hair. Then we slept. Or
                                                                            I slept.
Pain does not exist, except in the mind, but who does?
The cat stared at the wall, the goldfish swam in circles.
On weekends, pain took me to the park and tossed
                                                                          a red ball
and I retrieved it, with what joy I found it, gummed
brought it back in many lunges and side-scampers.
I would fetch it now if I were not healed.  

From the TLS, November 1, 2012.

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