Old Dog Brain

I sent to fetch a stick my dog.

He brought me a banyan tree.

I sicked him after the moon.

He chewed her up and brought her back.

I cursed him for making the moon all wet.

He came and licked my hand.


I held a morsel of meat in my hand.

He broke my wrist like a stick; the dog,

he had not known my insides wet,

but thought me dry like a tree.

He took my hand around the back

and buried it in the moon.


I searched the craters of the moon,

sent him out to get my hand,

but he could not bring it back,

he’d forgotten it like the stick, this dog,

cocking his leg on the banyan tree

then sniffing his nose where he wet.


My brain is wet and the dog’s is wet,

but though I talk of symbol things, like moon

as woman and branching tree

as growth or possibility, my hand

touches no symbol things and like a dog

the brain atop the spine in my back


censors lightning from my hand and feeds back

only Good Thing Food Thing. This wet

knob of flesh this time says Don’t kill your dog,

Don’t stuff yourself, so I sit down by the moon

with him and howl at the pain that took my hand,

while he howls at the moon that under the tree


robs his dim head not just of fate but the whole tree

of causality, and he howls loudest but won’t look back,

can’t look back, nor forward, just now, and I hand

it to him for that approach, but wet

front lobes are fanciful and soon the moon

sprouts a tiny hand where wet my dog


in this hand-tree I’m gripped by love, a wet-

season fruit that looks back less than the moon,

I’ve still one hand to slap and clap my dog.


First published New England Review, 2005

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s