Was to Get It

By MATTHEW LIPPMAN 

I tried to get in touch with my inner knowledge.
Turns out I have no inner knowledge.
I used to think I did.
Could sit on a rock contemplating the frog, the river, the rotisserie chicken
and know that everything is connected to everything else.
Or, that I had a messed-up childhood and never fully left the home.
Or, that abandonment was a product of eating too much candy.
But then the dog saw the squirrel.
It was on a telephone wire and she tried to jump 20 feet in the air to get it.
That’s all she wanted to do,
was to get it.
Right now, she stands in the sun and smells the river, the rodent,
the high-quality weed wafting from the neighbor’s window.
Her black and white body glistens
and has that sheen and shimmer that horses have in the sun.
She’s not telling herself that everything is connected to everything else.
She’s just sniffing the air
as all these smells collide with all these other smells
and captivate her canine mind in stillness.
There’s no reflection—no inner knowledge—going on.
She’s just standing in the sun
about to strike out at something she’ll never be able to get a hold of.
That damn squirrel is always way too high
so she puts her nose to the ground,
walks a couple of steps, squats, and pees on the lawn.
Thatagirl, I say,
so I can go inside, pick up my book on The Kissing Bug by Daisy Hernández
and figure out what to heat up on the stove
to feed the kids.

 

Matthew Lippman is the author of six poetry collections. His book Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful was the recipient of the 2018 Levis Prize. His latest collection, We Are All Sleeping With Our Sneakers On, is out from Four Way Books this year. His website is MatthewLippmanPoetry.com.

[Purchase Issue 27 here.]

Was to Get It

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