A Poem

When the world becomes too
much, a caged Heart slumps,
more shivering than beating,
in the wet morning air.

Heart had been a boisterous soul,
often leaping to collide joyfully
with all warmth—couch backs,
bed pillows, baby gates,
the master’s legs.

Heart’s sacrament of effort—
eagerly retrieving toys,
panting in a show
for the master,
teeth grinding surfaces
once clean and bright,
shredding their gloss into
coarse plastic confetti,
spreading debris as a joyful
deed—no thought
of the master’s want
for spotlessness.

The world becomes too much
for a master bowing beneath
obligation, his urgency to keep
apace with demands. Living
the best life? Luxury.
Clinging to worn toys?

He outlaws the clammy love
of licked faces, the moist muzzle
sniffing a mystery of winter mint
aroma rising from the master’s lips.
Cessation! Cessation to nails
scratching necks and fangs pinching
forearms, to yellowish bruising
and pink scars—emblems
of Heart’s impatient loving.

Young Heart pulls against
the master’s leash, trading
the need to breathe
for a chance to stay
inside the warmth.
Heart resists an exit
to the sturdy cage—

When the world becomes too much,
a cold Heart curls into a crescent
moon beneath the battering
clang of a padlock, sulking
behind the fading growl
of a truck engine—
to a world of mocking
chipmunks, dumb toads
in search of mud, self-loving
snakes writhing on brown
leaves. Heart’s eyes alone
point up, gazing out
from a drooping face, spying
a sunbeam buttress flying
groundward through gray
clouds, fondled by teasing
breezes warm and fleeting—
witness to a winter winning,
alone in a cage waiting
for a master who may
return and love again
when there’s time.

Poet’s Notes:

Reactions are welcome in the comments below. You can also try this piece: Like Pit Bulls on the Mount. Thank you for reading.