Ode to Doubt
—after Neruda


you are 

muscular as a boa,

and smooth 

as cognac

aged fifty years 

in the throat.

You muffle

hard outlines 

under your skirts,

offer a grey handkerchief 

to each certainty.

Behind the civility of veils—

what manners!

you understand how vulgar

clarity can be. 

At your discretion, 

the lampshade’s tassels.

Yours, the axe swung wide.

You own the dog 


on the ocean, 

the blurred print

on the dog’s sodden collar.

Hands that hold

a cold canary,

burning lungs 

that must inhale.

Last child 

left in the parking lot.

Dead horse, 

middle fork,

gloved hands in hair.
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