Poetry at Sangam




It’s audible to the three-headed dog:
her fear like a high-pitched shriek

held in her throat. Pre-unleashed. The thought
of the shriek and not the shriek itself.

And it’s freaking her out, this mind-reader dog,
how he tracks muscle-twitch, her intent to act,

pre-synapsed. He demands to know the before,
before the before: she was plucking flowers,

yes, when the ground opened its mouth,
but how she arrived at this exact spot,

how slowly she chewed and what she ate
for breakfast, how she slipped, stepping

onto the bathmat, her precise existence
at this particular moment – the two, no

three-second-pause at the four-way stop.
Indelible decisions. The luck

of the draw. The dog deciphers
eye-flicker, delves past thought in search of

the anatomy of thought, which moves
like starlight, born but the reaching delayed,

which moves like the gorgeous dark.
He’s doing it again, she thinks,

and he reads that, too. In his pupil-black,
black surrounded by gold flecks, she sees

the pre-patterned repetition
of next and next and next: her mouth, stained red;

she will not be leaving this place, not yet.
The future spans away like a cannon-

boom of sound. Calla-lilies, held fast,
she lets drop. The great winding of a clock.

(Originally appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal)