© Mark Doty, Sweet Machine: Poems (HarperFlamingo, 1998): 84. PS 3554 O798S9 1998 Robarts Library
2seconds at a time. Catch? I don't think so.
3Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who's -- oh
4joy -- actually scared. Sniff the wind, then
5I'm off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
6of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
7Either you're sunk in the past, half our walk,
8thinking of what you never can bring back,
9or else you're off in some fog concerning
10-- tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
11to unsnare time's warp (and woof!), retrieving,
12my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,
13a Zen master's bronzy gong, calls you here,
14entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.
1] This poem, "for Robert Jones, is spoken by Beau." [Author's note] In Heaven's Coast (New York: HarperCollins, 1996) Mark Doty writes: "Dogs, in a way, are the present. Animals are infinitely attentive to now, wholly present with what's in front of them. Entirely themselves, without compromise or dissembling. Pure directness of being, the soul right in the eyes, brimming to the edges" (293). Back to Line
Publication Start Year:
Unleashed (Crown, 1996).
RPO poem Editors:
This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of Mark Doty.