Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Intention Tremor

My dog’s neurology is unraveling.

He pushes his forehead to the precise place
my tibia juts almost through the skin,
where it feels like a shard,

and rests against that sharpness
as if wondering, what the fuck,

his brand new tremor rendering
everything unfamiliar
except my shin
where he returns,
again and again.

My life has skittered away from me, too,

like a ball of yarn, painstakingly shaped
from the raw skein, now sent spinning
across the world’s slanting-away surface.

The dog whines, and I touch his head.

He can’t negotiate
his water bowl anymore,
the clear liquid
in its usual container
flummoxes him,

just as I can’t navigate to a life of before
and keep falling face-flat against after.

It’s just after after after for the dog and me

as some higher power bats at us like a cat,
claws unsheathed, helpless
in the presence of what creeps, unable to help
but take part in an unwinding.

As the dog cannot help but collapse
after he trembles, and I cannot help but pray,
bumping my skull against an edge
that feels broken.

As my girl cannot help but morph, like the dog,
something growing or withering in his head,
an illness spreading its dark wings in hers,

nothing we can see, no, but a presence
leering, indelible.

Like God.  

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