A Small Bestiary Within by Raphael Maurice

[A Small Bestiary Within]

They want a sweet country
boy, tender, true as hell.
At least they seem to,
they do, until failures mark up
his face. Until his tail
even, is short & tucked, and he goes
disgraced as a small-town pervert.
Against the bank.
Against the speculation,
against the theft.
You want to chat
about this? He’s the kid there,
looking down into the floor.
His own shadow reels inside him.
He paces door to door.
It is restless, this shadow, coiled,
ready-to-snap snake, & he keeps
telling it to calm down.
& he doesn’t know exactly
who orders whom.
In the distance a dog howls.
His sudden rictus grin.
He’s closer than ever
to speaking dog.
He’s so close.
Let’s begin.

Raphael Maurice is a poet, translator, and teacher.  He resides in Washington, MO where the river keeps its secrets.