Originally posted 5/31/2011.
Face up in bed,
waiting again to be impaled
like a bug on a pin
upon the memory
of the time I mercy-killed the squirrel
on the front lawn after its mauling
by the neighborhood stray
we all hated.
I pulled a strong knife
and slashed once, then twice,
over its tooth-mashed throat;
saw the spurt, saw it relax at once.
Then I reached for a stone
and nailed that dog in the ribs.
and it took off howling with me howling
after it, running it off, its shallow flanks
pumping ahead of me too fast
I do not fear the memory for its horror,
but for its delights —
its promise of deus ex machina,
its flavor of massacres, camps,
and gallows blessed by others —
its tang of permission.