To a Dog Injured in the Street by William Carlos Williams

It is myself,

not the poor beast lying there

yelping, with pain

that brings me to myself with a start-

as at the explosion

of a bomb. A bomb that has laid

all the world a waste.

I can do nothing

but sing about it.

& So I am assuaged

from my pain.

A drowsy numbness drowns my sense

as if of hemlock

I had drunk. I think

of the poetry

of René Char

& all he must have seen

& suffered

that has brought him to speak only of

sedgy rivers,

of daffodils & tulips

whose roots they water,

Even to the free-flowing river

that laves the rootlets

of those sweet-scented flowers

that people the

milky

way.

I remember Norma

Our English Setter of my childhood

her silky ears

& expressive eyes.

She had a litter of pups one night

in our pantry & I kicked

one of them

thinking, in my alarm

that they

were trying to bite her breasts

to destroy her.

I remember also

a dead rabbit

lying harmlessly

on the outspread palm

of a hunter’s hand.

As I stood by

watching

he took a hunting knife

& with a laugh

thrust it

up into the animal’s private parts.

I almost fainted.

Why should I think of that now?

The cries of a dying dog

are to be blotted out

as best I can.

René Char,

you are a poet who believes

in the power of beauty

to right all wrongs.

I believe it also.

With invention & courage

We shall surpass

The pitiful dumb beasts,

Let all men believe it,

As you have taught me also

to believe it.

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So here I am drinking in the morning

Because I’m convinced I made a grave mistake

By believing in you so strongly

And wouldn’t you know it

I have a wedding to attend

“What do you think your life would look like 5 years from now without me in it?”

“Oh, horrible. Sad and lonely. I’d have nothing to live for. You?”

“I guess I’d go to Abu Dhabi, the richest city in the world, make more money than I’ve ever made before and probably end up marrying a sultan or something.”

We take care of so many animals together

It is not nice to be sought out

By a little dog from behind

When one is plugging up the walls

Setting humane traps out

And wondering how large

The mice infestation has become

My boyfriend screamed from the bathroom

And bcause I was mad at him I called what is it

Without leaving the room I was in

“I just found a huge white mouse!”

“Oh God, no, no-where is it?”

“Its still here, I’m holding it

It’s big and white and has butterscotch markings”

And then he set my dog on my lap

That’s when I decided to stop being so mad

Please release him somewhere very far away from us, but nice and outdoorsy with plenty of food crumbs

We started this project together

Of filling every hole in the heating system

Of this shitty, old apartment

With steel wool

Spraying peppermint scents

And setting out little plastic cylinders

With peanut butter inside and a trap door

For the mice who have set up camp

My dog is not a mouser, in fact

I think he has made friends with them

And helps them accomplish

Their various nighttime missions

My boyfriends a mouser

But I broke up with him this morning

So what was I supposed to do

When I saw the first mouse

Pacing in his cylinder

With two handfuls of peanut butter?

It was kind of cute

But I didn’t want to touch it

So i called on my ex the way

A single mother calls her ex husband