Upstairs, the dog has dropped its ball. New life,
it bounces twice. New life mimics the old,
a thought which might bring comfort, might bring grief.
(Claws click like ice on ice, dogs do as told.)
I overdo. Like Kierkegaard or like
these flowers in their box, bedaubed with dew.
(Bedaubed—a word for writing, not to speak.)
With dew, the yard appears greener than you
might guess. Mornings like this, I’ve seen two rats
tumble the field so joyfully I think
they must forget they’re rats. But no rat forgets.
No scuffling rat, no Kierkegaard, would shrink
from this movement so like the orbital leap
from text to text. Rats tumble in their place—
bedaubed like Kierkegaard, in bloom, in sleep,
who knew that every flower overstays.
Mike Smith teaches at Delta State University and edits Tapestry, a literary magazine focusing on the Mississippi Delta. He has published three collections of poetry, including Multiverse, a collection of two anagrammatic cycles. Recent poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Atticus Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Iowa Review, Notre Dame Magazine, and The Notre Dame Review. In addition, his translation of the first part of Goethe’s Faust was published by Shearsman Books in 2012.