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gershon hepner

Rookie (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Asymmetry


When wagging to the right its tail
your dog is telling you it’s glad,
but with a leftward wag bewails
what’s happening, to say it’s sad.
The left brain shows the feelings that
are positive, like love and calm, and
greets friends, like a welcome mat,
with signals. On the other hand,
the right brain tells you it’s afraid,
or else, at least, depressed, and warns
the body it may be betrayed,
evading enemies it scorns.

Asymmetry help us to read
the minds of sheep and chimps and chicks,
and those of honeybees, indeed,
but human signals play us tricks,
because we often smile when we
are sad, the privilege of clowns,
and, dreadful with asymmetry,
we hide from enemies our frowns,
and generally cannot be read
by friends or, even, when the light’s on, lovers
who may find when they’re in our bed
asymmetry between the covers.


(Inspired by Sandra Blakeslee’s article in the NYT, April 25,2006, “If You Want to Know if Spot Loves You So, It’s in His Tail”/4/25/07)

Submitted: Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Edited: Thursday, February 17, 2011
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