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 since thought is prayer if hard and true I thought that thought
could lead me to compassion for my fellow creatures insects not included
contrary to the Buddha I swat them dead the wasps might show a little
compassion too I do include the hound next door it moans all day all
night a loud slow lament a child can make itself sustain
 to dramatize its misery this dog repeats repeats he was the
neighbors' child but now they have an actual child he's been
cast down to be a dog again chained outdoors heartsick uncomprehending
why can't he just buck up remember his roots his lot not more
special than any other
 sad hound look up at the fledglings'
wide mouths look over here at the cat teaching her litter how to hunt
all sleek all black they're interchangeable her many tits confirmed
no favorites no first no last
 at least with only two both can be a kind of favorite
it's better than three I ought to know my sister and I each had one
parent to herself like Tea for Two it wasn't hard to be the boy
until there came the actual boy he was nothing like my father what does
it mean to have flown from the same nest into the world
you're thinking one is best
 one open mouth no first no last but
isn't it then the parents who compete no wonder the father of
animals wanders off the best is two all right one parent and one child
we've seen it work among the elephants 

ELLEN BRYANT VOIGT has published seven volumes of poetry, including Kyrie (1995), a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award, Shadow of Heaven (2002), and Messenger: New and Selected Poems (2007), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of The Poets' Prize. A former Vermont Poet Laureate, she has been a Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets and an elected member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and lives in Cabot, VT.
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Author:Voigt, Ellen Bryant
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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