Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

Day is a caught thing.  
I let if off-leash, 
and the dog,  
onto the coast where I stand 
delivered from night. 

I’m in the state I was born in 
twenty-one years after I was born in it 
the ocean looks like a lake 
this time of year, 
the unfeeling sky looms 
and the dog, 
that comatose god, 
does not come when I call it. 

I have asked twice 
and still he barrels 
towards the carcass:
a crab, or a striped bass 
and once, a pelican, 
its angel white body 
splayed and 
upturned to the sky.  

I have screamed one hundred times 
and the dog still does not listen out 
for my cries, 
still buries its exhausted, 
uncomplicated body into 
the unbeating flesh 
of some other animal 
spine against spine, 
soft belly against soft belly, 
squirming with a vigor 
of expected reciprocity. 

The most perfect thing 
I know of still 
is two animals greeting each other. 
That, even in death, 
one wants a piece of another. 

That one is calling another 
and another is lying dead on the sand 
and another is rejoicing 
in the smell of it. And once, 
I stood on this beach 
and tossed my grandmother, 
who was a Ziploc bag of ashes, into a wave.

That one came back to another shore.

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