Your Animal Mind at Ease

Recent publications: short stories “On the Origin of Specie” in Nightmare and “Half-Eaten Cities” in Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction, Volume II from the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.

I quoted this lovely poem by Ada Limón recently and have been thinking about it—and about poetry, and animals—a lot since then.

My beautiful dog died a few days ago. (Fuck cancer.) My instagram, such as it is, was composed mostly of pictures of her—I have many hundreds of pictures, though I’ve only posted a few. (I’d post one here but I’d rather not right now.) I’m glad to have the pictures. But they are not the same as having a dog sleeping at your feet in the morning sun. I keep hearing her breathing, or the clicking of her claws on the floor. I hope there is room in me for one more ghost.

Also, I have a migraine. My head feels like a clay pot being overstuffed with ash. I am patiently waiting for the first crack to appear, at my left temple where the pressure is sharpest, which will bleed in grey like dust falling in some silent lunar landscape.

Cave Canem, from the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.
Cave Canem, from the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii.

Words are stories. The cave in cave canem is from the Latin caveo: to be aware of, to pay attention. Via the shared Proto-Indo-European ancestor, it is cousin to kavi, the Sanskrit word for the poet, the wise, the seer; it is grand-aunt to the contemporary Sinhala word for the poem and poet alike. The poem is the seeing, the wisdom; the dog is the poem.