Mudlark No. 58 (2015)


This one lazes about by outcroppings, sniffing 
itself as if it could smell anything but brimstone,
heady drifts of sulphur riding the indifferent day.
An unsolicitous look says the Almighty’s minions
can go to—never mind. They say he chased cars	
and caught one. No beast this definitively ugly 
is also stupid, just distracted by the steady influx.

If there were double-wide trailers on the hillsides,
the hillsides awash in the trash of lives, and one
really big billboard for Used Clothing and maybe 
a Nissan Ford Toyota Chrysler Chevy on blocks 
in a sideyard, you’d swear you were home. Now
a priest bends to fluff a tuft of fur, jumps back
as if bitten. He crosses himself for the reason 

that habits are what he has. The dog isn’t buying 
genuflecting, the kindness. And it lunges at him, 
at the hem of his cassock, trying to make a meal 
of a being who reads Scripture in a sky’ looting 
light from the sacristy of the rooms of afternoon.
The mutt’s no fan of sacerdotalism. Priestcraft.
His job: to devour whatever sort of thief passes.

A kind of divine judgment is in the dog’s chains.
If the escape of the priest is a function of grace,
dumb luck, it is also the case that the animal was
tending to a wound received from rough handling. 
Which, without possibility of healing, had festered. 
Broken open. And nagged like knowing, to the day,
some exact length of time that constitutes Forever.

Roy Bentley | George Herman Ruth Thanks a Crowd at Yankee Stadium 	
on the Occasion of His Last Appearance in Pinstripes
Contents | Mudlark No. 58 (2015)