James Galvin was born in Chicago and earned a BA from Antioch College and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems (1998), X (2003), As Is (2009), and Everything We Always Knew Was True (2016). He has also published the novel Fencing the Sky (1999), and The ...
Two Horses And A Dog
Without external reference,
The world presents itself
In perfect clarity.
Wherewithal, arrested moments,
The throes of demystification,
Morality as nothing more
Than humility and honesty, a salty measure.
Then it was a cold snap,
Weather turned lethal so it was easier
To feel affinity
With lodgepole stands, rifted aspens,
And grim, tenacious sage.
History accelerates till it misses the turns.
Wars are shorter now
Just to fit into it.
One day you know you are no longer young
Because you've stopped loving your own desperation.
You change life to loneliness in your mind
And, you know, you need to change it back.
Statistics show that
One in every five
Is essential to my survival.
My daughter asks how wide is lightning.
That depends, but I don't know on what.
Probably the dimension of inner hugeness,
As in a speck of dirt.
It was an honor to suffer humiliation and refusal.
Shame was an honor.
It was an honor to freeze your ass horseback
In the year's first blizzard,
Looking for strays that never materialized.
It was an honor to break apart against this,
An honor to fail at well-being
As the high peaks accepted the first snow -
A sigh of relief.
Time stands still
And we things go whizzing past it,
Queasy and lonely,
Wearing dogtags with scripture on them.