failure to thrive

I found a flat grey stone on the beach
with scratch marks
scored deeply on one side

it reminded me of something I couldn’t account for
so I placed it in the yard
with other things I don’t care about
and thought no more of it

when I saw it again
the lines seemed more pronounced
(it may have been the light)
but it no longer reminded me of anything
other than how a young child starved of love
will fail to thrive

next day
I returned it to the beach

a three-legged dog followed me home
but I don’t want him

say a little prayer

perhaps I should genuflect
light a candle
mumble something holy
but when the night terrors come
to this private vault
we call consciousness
only my dog can hear me
be near me
comfort this old skin
so I say a little prayer for him
and whisper I’m ok

[first posted Jan 8, 2016]

howl

dog on the bed
like a polar landmass in the spring
I would give anything
to be like you
yours is an empire of the skin
mine the meandering way within
an island off the compass of the world
go howl your howl
let it be heard

[first posted 1 Jan 2017]

commons

walking on the common
at an uncommon time
a dog tore through the buttercups
I knew that dog was mine

glad I had a friend with me
I took it as a sign
walking on the common
at an uncommon time