Two Horses and a Dog
Without external reference, The world presents itself In perfect clarity. Wherewithal, arrested moments, The throes of demystification, Morality as nothing more Than humility and honesty, a salty measure. Then it was a cold snap, Weather turned lethal so it was easier To feel affinity With lodgepole stands, rifted aspens, And grim, tenacious sage. History accelerates till it misses the turns. Wars are shorter now Just to fit into it. One day you know you are no longer young Because you've stopped loving your own desperation. You change life to loneliness in your mind And, you know, you need to change it back. Statistics show that One in every five Women Is essential to my survival. My daughter asks how wide is lightning. That depends, but I don't know on what. Probably the dimension of inner hugeness, As in a speck of dirt. It was an honor to suffer humiliation and refusal. Shame was an honor. It was an honor to freeze your ass horseback In the year's first blizzard, Looking for strays that never materialized. It was an honor to break apart against this, An honor to fail at well-being As the high peaks accepted the first snow - A sigh of relief. Time stands still And we things go whizzing past it, Queasy and lonely, Wearing dogtags with scripture on them.
From Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997, published by Copper Canyon Press, 1997. (Originally published in Lethal Frequencies, 1995.) Copyright © 1997 by James Galvin. All rights reserved. Used with permission.