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.

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