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To the Memory, by Jane Mead

June 23, 1996

To the memory

of J. S. Bach because on bad nights

I take my three brown dogs to bed

with a box of crackers, which we share

while I sing them their favorite song:

Sheep may safely graze on pasture

when their shepherd guards them well.

Sheep may safely graze on pasture . . .

I have lived by how this is funny.

I address myself to the dead now.

My body thinks she is the moon--the moon

as remembered against the metal bars

of a bridge whose arc we trust

the more the less we can.

From a distance the cars move to music.

From a distance the world sings back.

My body thinks she is the moon

but she is a clown and I

am all music and unbearably

weighted down. My small dog

on the pillow, upside down,

wiggles her feet, my mean dog

would kill for me, my old dog

cries all night for me to kill her.

Johann Sebastian Bach--

from here I can't speak back.

From "The Lord and the General Din of the World: Poems" by Jane Mead (Sarabande Books, Louisville, Ky.: $12.95; 81 pp.) Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.

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