Before a Walk

The thrasher’s tweedle-eet
startles me awake.

The apple tree
does not care if I acquire knowledge.

I read each incandescent leaf
of a poetry book

while eating potent cereal
without the fear of added sugars.

There are no curtains to pull aside.
Sunrise invites itself in.

Why do train conductors
not spark and shock people as they take tickets?

Such questions afflict me
in the time between stars and blue sky.

I never call my dog a bad name
because she never calls me a bad name.

When I place my bowl in the sink
my dog knows it’s time to go to the door.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Filled To Brimming

Consider the dishwasher.
How after you fill yourself with dinner
you fill it with plates, flatware and glasses.

Outside the light takes that slant
that turns the air to honey
as if a magician snapped her fingers.

Inside the dog is frustrated with you
for not sharing your food
and lies down in a huff by the sliding doors to the backyard.

As you slide into your easy chair
and take in hand a magazine
you have been meaning to read

you consider police cams
and imagine if you had to wear one
to document all of your work activities

during office hours
with the knowledge that superiors
and independents will review

your every single keystroke
and zoomed business interaction.
Big Brother? Or checks and balances?

Your partner brings you tea.
Caffeine-free mint because it’s evening.
You plunge yourself

into an article about the armor and weapons
the Greeks and Trojans used
in the various eras covered by Homer’s Iliad.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Himalayas

The wet lick of a damp tongue
left on your cheek glistens
a snail’s slow passage.

How did you not tumble
out of sleep as the shell
pulled you up out of the tide.

I mean the bright opals on your cheek
catch the dog’s eye
startled out of its color blindness.

Or you could call it pearlescent
if you prefer to describe it as luster
like a moon bean on the bucket’s raw metal.

Imagine the snail’s destination.
So important it decided
to cross the Himalayas of your bulk.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Your Side Of The Bed

I see you have a new
boa constrictor.

Your voice tells it
to stop crushing the elephant

decorated comforter
or you’ll put it out to the dog house.

Last year’s dandelion puffs
cloud your bathtub

in place of fragrant
bath bubbles.

This prevents you from
soaking too long

thus pruning your skin
into a bushel of peri-wrinkles.

Our dog started eating
the boa constrictor’s tail

just as the boa swallowed
our dog’s tail

in the imitation
of something mythic

I once heard you murmur
between your petite snores.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Attachment

Delphi recalls her dog
after lavender overwhelmed its senses.

The dog ran outside herself
the silver thread barely visible in moonlight.

Delphi knows the importances
of walking away from yourself to gain perspective.

Last night she swam the ether
to the international space station.

Some part of deep sleep
rewinds the soul-cord to the bodily spool.

The dog inflated its astral self
like a balloon at Albuquerque’s Fiesta.

She meant to spread herself like a kite
to catch the solar wind.

There she was the next morning
curled, tail on nose, at the foot of the bed.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Pent Up

Paul let his hammer sing
through the air and crash

on two small plastic toys
that broke previously

under his boots
because he did not bother

to carry a flashlight
on this well known patch

of woods and rocks
last night after dark,

returning from watching
a cormorant at dusk

out of place
on a beaver pond

on the stream
carrying snow melt

down the unvisited
mountain top.

Paul’s dog flinched
each time the hammer struck

and little pieces flew
in all directions

for Paul to vent is rage
at turning his ankle

a deep blue-black
and swollen

after sidestepping
other might-be toys

and landing on
a tree root wrong.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

Trick Of Light

Tonight,
speaking for the dead,
a reflection
of a musical road
opens in the starry sky
to the sound
of rubber
on gravel.

See the split second
animal lives
as species struggle
to answer the call
of the twisted snake
inside them.

Might as well
eat both feet
up to the ankle
to form a human
Oroborus.

Tell the dog
this act
is symbolic
and she is safe
even when she hears
stomachs
jump start
the wild hunt.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

Interviewing

A dog waits for the right person.
Her nose records stories.

The right person will know her name.
There will be a ball of the right size.

It will not squeak.
No squeaky toys!

The yard will house three point two squirrels.
She will keep the squirrels treed.

The person will understand her contract
prohibits killing squirrels.

As long as they stay in trees.
On the ground—fair game.

Her right person will not use her
to torment frightened people onto slave ships.

Her right person allows laborers to unionize
and drive hard, but fair bargains.

No rounding up cattle.
They have enough problems.

In a famine her right person
will share the last scrap of food with her.

She half-closes her eyes
and sniffs more stories as they walk by.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

First Thing

Paul woke up.
The remnants of a hot dog bun
littered his sheets and blankets.
He looked into the bathroom mirror
and asked, What happened?

His mirror image
launched into a long story
about his golden retriever
leaping out of an airplane,
the parachute not opening,
the impact destroying
the church steeple
and how he ate his sorrow
all hours of the night.

Paul stood slack jawed
as his mirror image
finished off the story
with gory embellishments
too terrible to hear.


copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney