Poems from the book:
WHY DOGS STOPPED FLYING
Before humans, dogs flew everywhere.
Their wings of silky fur wrapped hollow bones.
Their tails wagged like rudders through wind,
their stomachs bare to the sullen earth.
Out of sorrow for the first humans—
stumbling, crawling, helpless and cold—
dogs folded their great wings into paws
soft enough to walk beside us forever.
They still weep for us, pity our small noses,
our unfortunate eyes, our dull teeth.
They lick our faces clean,
keep us warm at night.
Sometimes they remember flying
and bite our ugly hands.
Uncircumcised, I turned
to face the wall in after-practice showers.
The other boys dangled snakes
compared to my slug.
But I kept shy in most ways,
pulling the skin over my head,
hiding poverty in its tattered bag,
committing myself to blindness.
Then a woman’s hand coaxed me out
in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy,
the convertible top popped
like a bottle of Bud.
In my mind, a banana slug
the size of Portland
glistened and slimed its slow way
toward Salt Lake City.
So I thank her now for teaching me
how small things can grow
nurtured to attention
in the otherwise dark.