The Debacle of the Three-Legged Dog

Shepard on a wire fence. Spanish poet before
Spanish rifles. Christ. Supper. Colorless plain
Janes and John Does locking tent of clothes,
plastic plates. Why is it I get watered down
during trailers and ASPCA commercials?
How could I be moved to one diamond tear
during a webisode mock wedding speech?
When I watch animated movies with trope
targeting I nevertheless am moved by formula;
readily labile in form am I. Why? And why
now? Have I been slick—dodging emotional
responses to the virtuous that people still
at times aspire to? Have I dislodged my butt
plug with the acceptance of disease, decline
and dramatically bound my aesthetic unease
with all creatures? Is there something more
to these measured responses; an irritant
tinkering in the shadows? A great fountain
on the verge?

I squirt a tear still, sometimes three, when
O Fortuna charges paired with bloodied steel,
triumph imagery, and the acrid scent of fresh
fig for come the end of days fruit will still
cling to us not to cloak our shame but to offer
its flesh during our passage into winter. I wept
when I saw ‘the Duke’ struggle with the steps
because though dead already the true aegis
of the room went unnoticed; covert silence
in the closets as golden as the trophy is itself.

Food has brought tears by virtue of its beauty,
its simplicity: set moments, melting during
taste and swallow tests. Gasped in my solitude
during the turn of the year not for my solitude
alone but for my joy at being part waxed wick
of the new candle planted in the deepening

night sky. Perhaps it is this turning keeping
me moist…

Is it truly so unusual for man or woman to be
as close as to allow for occupation of each’s
cornea? Are we as a split species that blind
unto each other? We relish length. Beg
the cloying preoccupations, the mannered
absurdities of pursuit. How precious the taste
of one another in moments of weakness and
unfettered elation. Can I swim you, breast
your tomorrows and butterfly back, 100 laps
each way everyday?

Who will be choking back transgressives when
I am released this life?

When I watch the stick burn to the point that
it is hardly held together on its own any longer
before dropping down to the yellowed tinder
above the suburban enclave of factory recalled
shiny autos, and second hand children drifting
along with their phone heads down unaware
of speeding steel compact and energy hybridized…

Consider the elevator car rising smoothly above
cityscapes, depositing its defrocked charge
at sanctified level for a repentant high dive
into anguish complete with a whiskey sour
and cigarillo…will grown children forget then?

No. It is tight writing that moves when spoken.
Freed from the dance of the page itself words
propel us out of tinier selves and into the mouths
of sanguine giants. It is seeing people act justly,
hearing them speak a history of justice deterred;
that co-branded symbolism impelling water from
me, my own salt. Though it may more often be
just an errant eyelash.

More need, more beckoning for weeping now:

horses ridden by big mouth bass and coal-mine
canaries scant of cloth strip-teasing on sidewalks?
Charade tribunals? Lost key cuffs upon bratty
little rave kids with snot in their sleeves, and
futures of line by line seamlessly evolving code-
cowboy mannequin boots, and sleepless days,
for life happens now at night.

Immovable. We…so different that each new
day matters less now.

If I were so lucky as to see you reach down
for a ladybug on the kitchen floor, allow
it passage on your hand and the pleasure
of your soulful company out to the garden,
to the waking crocus in the backyard where
you steady it down onto petals and turn away
before lady is taken by mantis which in turn
is taken by jay. Then no water but poetry.

Sean Mahoney

Sean J. Mahoney lives with his wife, her parents, two Uglydolls, and three dogs in Santa Ana, California. He works in geophysics. He believes that dark chocolate is magical, medicinal, and Mmmm; that ‘the Big One’ will arrive at your doorstep on a Thursday before 11am, and that diatomaceous earth is a not well known enough gardening marvel. Sean still believes that Vallejo continues to breathe…figuratively. His work has been published in MiPoesias, Breath & Shadow, Catamaran Literary Reader, Wordgathering, Amsterdam Quarterly, Sharkpack Poetry Review, and Militant Thistle, among others.