BY David W. McFadden
In the dark a wall lizard bumps its snout
against my foot then scampers up my leg.
A kite squawks three times then falls asleep.
A badger waddles through the bushes then
takes a pee on a rock. A dull red star
rises above the dimly outlined peak
high above the lake so silently.
I don’t have much to say and so I listen.
A word too many and the poem disappears.
Seagulls bark like a dog protecting its pup.
On the far shore little lights project
their tongues across the surface of the lake.
In the distance a train enters a tunnel.
The songbirds all wake up and start to sing.
This must have been in some other world.
The pencil I was holding and observing,
my Papermate Canadiana HB2,
was twisted like a tree in a tornado,
as if some god had turned it into putty,
twisted it to look like something scary,
then returned it to its stiff rigidity
with every twist impossible to untwist.
Another world may harbour such Mandrakes
well-skilled at performing scary tricks.
But when I woke up was I ever surprised.
My lower right leg was severely cramped,
like a Swiss Army too long on the march,
or like a tree corkscrewed by heavy storms.
No one knows beans about the major crimes.
Only officials believe the official story.
On the streetcar everyone’s eating hot dogs.
We’ve entered a world without stereotypes.
My dreams tell me the President doesn’t know
anything but the funny stories he’s told.
I walk into Camp David, he slaps my back.
I must confess to feeling warm and fuzzy.
Would I have dreamt that if he’d known anything?
He even spoke a fluently civil English
and so did I. (Oh, if we could write
as well as we could speak we’d never speak)
(something’s not quite right but what the hell).
Did you know so and so gassed his own people?