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Prairie Schooner 79.4 (2005) 132-134
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Solid Ground, and: Party Animal
Solid GroundA fish leaps out of the tank;
suddenly it's a race with time
but I'm a little girl with pounding heart
and inadequate instruction: always
wet your hands before you touch a fish [End Page 132]
so I say an anxious prayer and take my
place in the desperate struggle of muscle.
I do it: return him to safety.
I should be proud, but I'm not.
It should be over, but it isn't.
The little bastard swims off
as if it never happened;
doesn't even thank God
that I wasn't the cat
and my heart speeds into morning
needing someone to shout at
but I'm alone with what I dream;
alone with the impulse to freedom.
I wash away what slippery fear I can,
but it's never enough; I'll be called again.
The capricious eye will remake
this journey to the perilous rim.
Party AnimalAt my next party,
I'll wear a dress and look
like me, but inside, I'll be a dog. [End Page 133]
On the sofa with guests, sly
beast that I am, they'll never
suspect I'm there for the food
and turned-on by their smells.
I'll look into their eyes and nod
like I care; flash that big toothy
grin they seem to adore;
breeze right through
the movie reviews,
politics and dirty jokes.
I'll be the happiest one in the room,
as long as there's cake.