Beast & Master
We each carried a groan in our throat. 
We ferried them across every water, 
made ourselves into safe boats. 
Most times they sat silent. 
Only at night did we untether them 
note by note. They pillared above us 
in the dark, some floating into the shape 
of a dog, some of a horse, some of a goat. 
They made a moat with their moaning. 
Beneath oak trees we slept and feared 
no predators. When we woke, 
we re-roped them into our mouths. 

Each groan had a scent of its own. 
Too many smelled sweet. 
Yours smelled of lilac and burning hair. 
And yours smelled of asphalt and wet grass. 
And mine of sour fur. Mine of barren orchards 
and miles of paw-marked soil.

Once after many years I put a blade 
to my throat and begged the groan to stop 
but it only changed key. Coyote whine. 
I mercied and it clattered back down 
my throat like loose plaster. Thereafter 
we lived like beast and master. 
When it ran I ran after it faster. 
When I lay at its feet it called me 
sweet names. 
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