Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Poem for Wednesday

By Kevin Young

Behind his house, my father's dogs
sleep in kennels, beautiful,
he built just for them.

They do not bark.
Do they know he is dead?
They wag their tails

& head. They beg
& are fed.
Their grief is colossal

& forgetful.
Each day they wake
seeking his voice,

their names.
By dusk they seem
to unremember everything—

to them even hunger
is a game. For that, I envy.
For that, I cannot bear to watch them

pacing their cage. I try to remember
they love best confined space
to feel safe. Each day

a saint comes by to feed the pair
& I draw closer
the shades.

I've begun to think of them
as my father's other sons,
as kin. Brothers-in-paw.

My eyes each day thaw.
One day the water cuts off.
Then back on.

They are outside dogs—
which is to say, healthy
& victorious, purposeful

& one giant muscle
like the heart. Dad taught
them not to bark, to point

out their prey. To stay.
Were they there that day?
They call me

like witnesses & will not say.
I ask for their care
& their carelessness—

wish of them forgiveness.
I must give them away.
I must find for them homes,

sleep restless in his.
All night I expect they pace
as I do, each dog like an eye

roaming with the dead
beneath an unlocked lid.


Another from this week's New Yorker.

My day was meh because I did a bunch of dumb things, the stupidest of which was leaving our Peter Pan Big Ben toffee tin coin bank at the local bank branch office, where it took me a ridiculous amount of time to deposit Adam's Bar Mitzvah checks, put the bonds into the safe deposit box, and talk to the teller about whether we should switch the kids from young saver accounts to something with slightly higher interest. We got that tin in England on our last trip, keep our coins in it, and bring it to the bank where there's one of those machines where you can dump coins for a deposit slip, and between remembering the safe deposit box key and trying to keep all the papers straight, the tin got left behind. We are all sad about this. I must have been completely distracted, because I also forgot half the stuff I should have gotten next door in CVS. Sigh.

The kids had a pretty good day -- went to the pool early when it wasn't too hot, played with friends in the afternoon, then we all had dinner with my parents who will be out of town on Father's Day (I still owe my father a card and gift), and in the evening we watched The Running Man which I haven't seen in more than a decade. Everything that was dopey about it the first time is still there, but it's still a lot of fun and surprisingly prescient about how reality TV and the dumbing-down of America would occur. My favorite line in the entire film is, "Mr. Richards! I'm your court-appointed theatrical agent." This is Rob Blagojevich's America...or, more to the point, the one where Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually the governor of California. Here are some bunnies from our campground in Moab, Utah last summer:

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