The offering

July morning
before the dawn
I step outside
with the dog

night clings
like a heavy curtain
silhouetting trees
against indigo sky

waning gibbous moon
gleaming bright
bathing the earth
in silversoft light

that’s what draws me
the ethereal glow
and a strange star
above the moon

the dog is here
on practical business
trotting out in the yard
—he is not mine
but he loves me so
he lived here
not so long ago;
he belongs to my son
away on vacation—

the dog
is like the morning
velvet charcoal
I can barely glimpse
the glow of his white breast
out in the darkness

a whippoorwhill calls
from the pines
while I try to discern
what star that is
so bright above the moon

king of the planets
and there in the east
Mars, glittering red

the ancients could read
their preordained ritual
but I, in the silverdark Now,

—a loud animal cry
shatters the stillness

I know without knowing

—here comes the dog
shy and humble creature
who’s not really supposed to run
on his congenitally malformed
frail back legs

here he comes, running
as hard as he can
through the shadows
charcoal in charcoal
soft shape in his mouth

No! No!

how is it that
this most benevolent creature
who’s never done another harm, never
should be ceremoniously dropping
a rabbit at my feet

no, no, I cry
horror and awe intermingled
at the unnecessary death
that he can even catch a rabbit

how Elvis starts singing in my brain
as if this act
is the sole measure
of a dog’s worth

for here stands The Dog
magically transformed
from meek pet
to mighty hunter
bringing the solitary catch
of his life
to me

a blood offering
under the waning gibbous moon
beneath the winking planet-king

oh beautiful dog
oh beautiful rabbit

I am sorry.

I could never be
a god.

July morning. Jupiter above the waning gibbous moon.

2 thoughts on “The offering

    • Thank you for your words, Kim. I always love your thoughts. It was such a beautiful, dark, mystical morning, with all that silver moonlight and the planets so bright. I thought of ancient astronomers and stargazers reading and interpreting their messages (“written in the stars”).The dog is Henry, my son’s beloved Pit mix who has his own column on my blog. He’s the most humble, sensitive, self-effacing creature who had no confidence at all when my son adopted him from a shelter about seven years ago. He is full of love. When you have his heart, you have the whole of it forever. He loves with his entire being. I rank a close second to my son in Henry’s esteem! None of us can believe he was able to catch the rabbit; as my son says, “he’s so awkward and gangly” with his thin, malformed back legs. I believe in his mind he has reached the apex of dogdom with this act of catching a rabbit and offering it to me. Meanwhile…I wait ’til it’s lighter outside and do a bunny scan now before we go out! I really did hear Elvis sing in my head, in the midst of my horror – “you ain’t never caught a rabbit /you ain’t no friend of mine” – as the measure of a dog’s worth and love…alas!


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