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)