It came to me later in the day
Walking the dog I’d decided
To put down because among other
Recent aggressions she had
Bitten the child of a stranger

I had to walk her to get away
From thinking about it and that’s when
His name finally occurred to me
An acoustic image descending
The vowel scale from “likeness”

A man’s adulthood contained so little
Of it that I took note of anything
Such as his book that made me
Burst into tears
In this tears resembled laughter

In books I had encountered scenes
Of people bursting into song
In Kidnapped Alan Breck kills four men
Then bursts into a Gaelic poem
Composed by himself on the spot

But there were few experiences like it
I tried to remember the landscape
Was bleak and the suffering relentless
The view made up for a great deal
Even before the ocean came into it

The father was mean but you forgot
Everything about him in time
Except what he did to his daughter
That and the reindeer he rode
Into the blizzard and through

The river ice trying to kill it
And I would say who wrote it
But was drawing a blank
As I held my weeping child
At 4 AM in the converted room

Blankness was the better place
I promised you the vet would find for her
And there was hope and solace in it
Like a lake famed for its monster
A long form made of lake water

And then I thought of likeness
And the dog bursting into flames
And the flames licking my hand