The light piled up against the house
in blocks and wedges, I cut the grass
amid the golden drone of bees
and watch you watching through the glass.
I know that if you had your way,
an argosy of trucks, like arks,
would rumble up our drive. They’d drop
their gangplanks, and herds would disembark.
Dogs first, of course, from every breed,
but also cats, and birds, and mice—
a whole food chain to mill around
the yard and eat the shrubs and allspice.
But why stop there? The cobalt skink
that sunned itself on Gulf Coast bricks,
the horse you rode in Irish hills,
the roadstand box of yellow chicks—
they’ll all file meekly through the gate
and join their captive friends, where coasts
of puffins, seals, and otters fill
my daughter’s plastic pool, and hosts
of monkeys sit like jurors
in the trees. I’m scared to go inside,
to find my place usurped by frog
or fox, to find I need a guide.
From the door, you wave and scratch the dog,
dispelling most of my fears. The lawn
is cropped and edged, but ghosts of all
your beasts still wander in the dawn.
Rob Griffith’s latest book is The Devil in the Milk (Kelsay Books, 2017), and his previous book, The Moon from Every Window (David Robert Books, 2011), was nominated for the 2013 Poets’ Prize. His first book, A Matinee in Plato’s Cave, was the winner of the 2009 Best Book of Indiana Award. His work has appeared in PN Review, Poetry, The North American Review, Poems & Plays, The Oxford American, and many others. He is the publisher of Measure Press and is chair of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Evansville, Indiana.