Sep 142010

by I.M. Chapman

“A great silence overcomes me,

and I wonder why I ever thought

to use language.”

–Rumi, “A Thirsty Fish”

Books bind my brain more tight than any glued,

sewn spine—fix me in the shapes of print, making

those thoughts my thoughts, those foci mine till I

am hog-tied like a steer, till I am all but not.

She takes me from dead black blood to air and open, from sunless tundra

of pressed rag and wood to midday bright.  She breathes into me

and I am alive; she frees me from “Words, words, words”*–

takes me from ink to light.

To this March morning stirred

by a light breeze, to the black and tan searching

the back pasture intent on the trail she follows or has lost,

nose and belling tongue to ground, blind to me

and deaf to my whistling call, unaware of aught

save possibility of prey, herself likely lost

from her master at midnight or 2 a.m.  (rather he from her

and her passion) in their conspiracy against raccoon.

She doesn’t even know it’s day.

She calls me to this March morning,

to the belling bitch, to the milk-nosed calf

not two hours dropped I startled from his first breakfast,

to the milky froth stringing from his mouth and tousled

on morning’s breath, to the sagging fissure I have come

to find and check—Amy off by herself in the back pasture

looking for a calf.

To life and to love.

*Hamlet replies to Polonius’ question, “What do you read, my lord?”  (II.ii)