While the Dog Sleeps

It’s the birthday of Stephen Crane.
On this date, Michelangelo said yes
to the pope and gathered his brushes.

At the church next door, the choir
is rehearsing. There is nothing
I want to rehearse. Recently I’ve

been realizing, “If that didn’t exist, I 
would never miss it.” I say it a lot.
But not about you. We put isinglass

over the screens on the porch so we
could sit there in sweaters, take the time
to see what was in front of us. Now

“tomorrow” is a strange word, “now”
even stranger. “Yesterday” makes sense,
but not much of it is true. Our dog still

keeps sleep. I imagine him dreaming
la dolce far niente. When asked
if I miss what I did for forty years

I like to say, “That never existed.”
Now here on the porch I take in the light
crossing the last leaves doing their slow

dance in the breeze, watch the chickadees
at the feeder, once in a while glance at
the sundial we set in the shade of the redbud. 

Ridl, Jack. “While the Dog Sleeps” from Saint Peter and the Goldfinch. Copyright © 2019 Jack Ridl, with the permission of Wayne State University Press.