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Clade Song 4

Living with Animals  

Fu Manchu is a Shar-Pei,
the color of iron rust
and flawed because furiously furred --
way overdone, the pedigree mavens say.
He tick-sticks to us (his dogsitters)
to divine our intentions,
sucks us up in his eyes,
as if we were ink and they were blotters.
The cause of his devotion,
or is it doggedness, is genes
from Tibetan monk guard-dog
frisson in his veins.
Fu frets when my husband’s out of sight
until I pull back the curtain,
to show him:  man-in-shower.
He then sinks to the floor, haunches pert,
nervous as cappuccino foam
outside the bathroom door,
shedding and drooling and dour,
pretending to relax: at least we’re home.
Other animals’ chemicals overlay
people like pentimenti.  
Would octopi occupy us thus
if we octopus-sat them?
Probably: quite cooly
and with extreme suction
but no unction at all
or compunction.
In “How to be Perfect” Ron Padgett
says “Live with an animal.”
If nothing’s closer: wild ones in trees
where they leap like parentheses (enclosing us).
June Goodwin June Goodwin has had around 40 poems published in literary magazines in the U.S. (Opium Magazine, Gettysburg Review, first issue, Wisconsin Review and Southwest Review, among others) and she is the author of two non-fiction books on South Africa (Cry Amandla, Holmes & Meier, 1985, and Heart of Whiteness with Ben Schiff, 1995). Under a pseudonym she and and her husband had two thrillers published by Pocket Books in 1989, 1990. From 1976 to79 she was reporter in Africa for The Christian Science Monitor. she has also worked for Reuter News Agency in London and New York City.