Often I walk the dog at night. Once around the block, maybe twice, And sometimes we head up to the reservoir. If it's snowing, I put a little coat on the dog, Booties if they've salted the street. Everything you need is up there. You can see for miles and you've got a lake, Not large, the water black and still. Emptiness where the city ends and farmland begins, Lights of the houses below, and if you're quiet— Sounds you couldn't actually hear. Clock ticking on the wall, pipes, A nightstand with a lamp, a desk, pencils in a cup— Then it's time for the dog to go home, Have a biscuit, go to bed. Sometimes there's a kid with a skateboard, No cars, they close the gates at dusk. Not really a lake: it's lined with concrete, The opposite of an island But it beckons, as islands do. I like arriving or leaving. Thimble, Block, Brigantine— When I burned my journals some of it caught Immediately, a brown stain Spreading from the center of each page. Some was stubborn: gray scraps Rising like messages in the air.
As an older man, Graying, not stooped, I saw the future: Extremities Cold, tongue Sluggish, Foam at the lips. Excessive hope Seemed more Indulgent Than despair. I ran great distances. I stood in sunlight Just to see my shadow, Show it off. For the first time I remember My soul looked back. What other people learn From birth, Betrayal, I learned late. My soul perched On an olive branch Combing itself, Waving its plumes. I said Being mortal, I aspire to Mortal things. I need you, Said my soul, If you’re telling the truth.