for C. G. Macdonald, 1956-2006
Charlie, sunrise is a three-legged mongrel dog,
Going deaf, already blind in one eye,
Answering to the unlikely name, ‘Lucky.’
The sky, at gray-blue dawn, is a football field painted
By smiling artists. Each artist has 3 arms, 3 hands, 3 legs.
One leg drags behind, leaving a trail, leaving a mark.
The future resembles a cloudy dream
Where the ghosts of all your life
Try to tell you something, but what?
Noon is a plate of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Midnight is an ugly chipped plate
That you only use when you are alone.
Sunset is a wise cat who ignores you
Even when you are offering food; her conception
Of what life is, or isn’t, far exceeds our own.
This moment is a desert at midnight,
The hunting moon is full, and owls
Fly through a cloudless sky.
The past is a winding, green river valley
Deep between pine covered ridges;
What can you make of that?
Night is a secret plant growing inky black against the sky.
When this plant’s life is over, then day returns
Like a drunken husband who stayed out until breakfast.
A smile is a quick glimpse at the pretty face of hope.
Hope’s face is framed by the beautiful night sky.
Hope’s face is framed by the gray-blue dawn.
This is your life, these seconds and years
Are the music for your only dance. Charlie,
This is the eternity that you get to know.