Eclogue at Midnight

The creatures forged to guard us in sleep
climb down from their high portals
& huddle in lonely alleyways.
The gardens couldn’t hold them
with natural or false benediction.
Our house cats become their seeing-eye dogs,
& our noble dogs curl their tails
between their legs, bow their heads,
whine & back away from silhouettes
moonlight casts along the walls.
We weren’t born to love them
out of their classical horror,
though unlit amusement parks
are their playgrounds. They skid
down slides & spin on the merry-go-
rounds. They climb telephone poles
& walk power lines. They tiptoe up
to our bedroom windows & peep in.
Their presence lives next morning
in the office, in the barber’s chair,
sipping black coffee from a paper cup
& reading annual reports at the desk.
Whatever silver tongue we pray in
they’ve learned to curse & cajole,
& grow beautiful when ridden
by the five shadows of Venus.

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