Of Rabid Dogs and the Recognition

Beware the barbed-wire,
the copse, the dogwood branch

split by a hunter’s careless foot.
Beware the eyelash, the slim

tongues of grass, and the smokestacks’
corruption of fog. Beware the natural

bridges, the canticles not yet sung,
and the prayer beads gripped

by troubled nuns. Beware the plumage,
the heart, and the gun the suicide holds

in his mouth. Beware the histories
of peoples, the vigils, the unmarked graves,

the hunter’s careless foot, the museum,
and the soot gathering in chimneys.

Beware the confidence of lovers,
the cuckold and the cuckold’s

sleeping son. Beware the songs
that echo from passing cars,

the last talk with an evicted neighbor
and the eviction. Beware the nestlings,

the eyelid, the maddened thirst
of rabid dogs and the recognition

in the screams of bitten children.
Beware the cautionary privacy

of a priest, the surrender to wasted days,
the smothered resentment of friendships,

that barbed-wire, that copse, and anything
else I might have missed.