Robert Rorabeck

(04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Like A Promise


Dogs of light and dogs of fire,
Dogs holding their breath, digging under chicken wire:
Dogs in Christmas,
Dogs in the sea, dogs panting under the clotheslines of
Panties,
Dogs waiting for me: dogs whose full mouths are filled with
Bones,
Dogs waiting on the knolls of other dogs’ tombs:
Dogs who worked for kings,
Dogs who worked for bums: dogs underneath the airplanes;
Dogs sticking red to revolutions;
As the poems are hurt on liquor, trying to find their blind ways
Home to Alma,
As the air fills unceremoniously with the cadences
Of the perfumes of other men who
Are not any of their masters,
The dogs who fill the streets and curbs, who through
Happenstance speak French and feed the alligators, lifting their
Legs to the red hydrants
Without the proper rhymes for the Ferris wheels of cheerleaders:
Another trick, for another bone:
Eating their dinner alone: dogs and dogs who knew me and who
I’ve never know,
Leaping and wining faithfully, and then by midnight sniffing their
Way through the most acerbic of vineyards,
Underneath the silver overpasses of the naked airplanes who
Never saw the same tears in their eyes,
Coming home to the doorways and the transoms that speak the same,
Giving off the same light as the lighthouses who pretended to
Know a world without wars:
Dogs licking their wounds, like lovesick men calling your name,
Alma,
And wishing only to sleep with the rabbit stated rattlesnakes in the
Unending shade swinging in the antebellum of your old world
Home,
Like a serpent in a playground of a tree, like a promise, like a bone,
You never intend to share with me.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

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