POETRY: News From The Dogs, by Vicki Hearne

The early gods say to cast
Slender and articulate
Visions out into the woods

And hope the dogs will follow
Through the fleeciest summer,
Returning with their mouths filled

With news we can make way for.
Instead, we raise gaudy flags
Into the treetops and teach

Our good red hound no more than
We know. The death of god casts
Shadows abroad. There the dogs

Can always surprise the game
Bringing us news of ourselves
If only we realize how

Deep the woods and dark the scent
As the bright season lengthens
Into the work of the mind for

Which the dogs live. God is born
Again in the news of death
So long as we let the dogs

Work in their way as we work
Our way back. How to fail: Cast
The dog at the tree you know

From childhood. Or cast the game
Yourself and instruct the dog
On his business, or cast off

The game in the wrong season
Or cast off the game. To fail
Is not to know that the game

For the dogs is what knowledge
Is when the world and the heart
Of a dog can dance out each
Moment in the mouth or cry
In the throat. In this season
Trees are flawless canopies.

Under them, no matter what
The outcomes, the dogs’ return
Is the long scheduled event

Of warmth. Creatures foraging.
This is how we know the dogs
And all the other returns.

With Argos going ahead
Filled with immortality
As we are when the dogs show

The returns, the rocky quests,
To be names for each other,
The long truth of each other,

As though, at last, they were one.

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