Do Sheep Dream of Other Sheep
In a pasture far
from the hearing of others
a sheep lifts its head from grazing.
The edible greenery is sparse
yet somehow barely adequate
and the sheep isn’t hungry enough
to wander little or far.
The sheep does not know
it is alone, that miles away
there is a lushness to a land
beyond its vision, a fragrant land
of sweet nourishment beyond
its sense of smell. Unaware
that the fence is no longer intact,
the sheep bumps against rotting rails,
the animal’s vision poor.
O for one step over a rail,
to journey toward a flock
it does not conceive of existing
where a shepherd cares,
and the call of the wolf
is silenced by the bark of a dog.
But this sheep stays, ill kept,
close to the pricker bush
it can just feel, knowing only
what it has always known
to be its thorny truth.
Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. — Rene Magritte
Because you cannot look at the sun
even as the moon would hide
the light in near totality
you look instead through
special glasses if you look at all.
Because you are tempted to look
at the sun directly, your eyes
make you look away for their own sake.
The needs of your future sight
outweigh the desire of your mind’s eye.
Because your curiosity hasn’t
killed you thus far you persist
in looking for light in darkness,
unlike Job wishing that light had
not entered the day of his birth.
Because you hold to the light
of one star still in the night
holding onto you in a covenant of love,
you wake in the morning no more
the countenance of joy but alive,
brave enough for one more day
of love eclipsed by sunken wounds
you do not need special glasses to see
though no one chances to view
the wounds you wear.
What do you see everywhere, everywhen, as you consider the stars?
Do you see Sirius in need of petting, as I do, or do you view this sky
through the reflection of artificial light as on my dog’s widened eyes,
in the same way as I gaze upon the Milky Way veil of your glory?
O to see each atom and all the stars at once, knowing
that to do so is an act of grace, beyond my visual field.
Perhaps for you there is the simple want of a slight blindness—
to see yourself as I do, through my imperfection and hunger.
O to be seen by you, as carbon in your image, atoms and molecules
you touched with the same spark of intent which burns
as intensely as the thought of a dog star or the drop of a dog’s tear.
I would dare to touch the stars with my tears in your scarred hand.
Note to a Dog
I want you to look down, now, not thinking
about the ground. I want you to look
at the dry blade of grass and the dirt around it,
how the soil absorbs all the light that touches it,
warming it the way you warm my lap.
Please look at all the grass, both dead and living,
even not comprehending that dead grass
once lived and covered the dirt beneath your feet.
Would you want an uplifted vision—to be able
to look at yourself as I do, knowing life and death?
Please look at me as more than giver and taker,
more than a version of yourself who pets you
with a not-so-different purpose, with the same
desire as you have. I would hope to give you more
than the earth offers, hold onto you for life