Sunday, November 29, 2009

Animal Sleep by John Grey

I’ve dreamed the quiet gather
of petting zoo lambs
and the fierce blood roar
of the pouncing tiger.
I’ve owned every breed of dog in my sleep,
even a pig that grunted in English:
“The other white meat is llama.”
In truth, with head on pillow,
I need to get away from people.
What’s it matter if
I’m in the deep woods all alone
and the bear threatens attack.
Who cares that the swamp
is full of crocodiles.
The beasts can speak
so I have my conversation.
Many will bite
so I can catch my rest
delightfully on edge.
They growl, they howl,
their fur bristles,
their beaks peck,
their mood changes
with the first glimpse
of an untouched deer carcass.
And, best of all,
when I awaken,
there’s not a one of them beside me,
not even the family cat.
No scars, no shedding,
no waste, no stains.
Just this flesh, these bones,
slow mesh of daylight and my head.
Thoughts replace imaginings.
That’s all there is to the beast in me.

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