A Corner Of The Cloak…

You know how everything seems normal and usual and orthodox But actually everything, if you look at it closely with all four eyes,
 Is utterly confusing and puzzling and mysterious and astonishing? For example this morning the world presents me a red-tailed hawk, All shoulders and muscle and glower and a bust like Dolly Parton’s, And the hawk completes the life cycle of a young ground squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi for those of you scoring the game at home, And carts his or her repast up to a massive oak and carefully peels The squirrel like a banana, keeping the protein and letting the skin Fall to the grass below, where a dog, Canis familiaris for you fans
At home, sniffs curiously and then looks as ecstatic as I have ever, And I mean ever, seen a dog, and they are in general a happy tribe, But then the young woman roped to the dog, Homo sapiens girlius For those of you scoring at home, yanks the leash and barks, Drop! And the dog with immense reluctance drops the most enticing pelt He has ever even imagined in the redolent and wondrous universe, And the girl picks it up and stares at it a moment and then drops it With a strangled screech or swallowed scream or disgusted moan (It’s hard to explain exactly the nature of her horrified vocal sound), And off she goes at a canter, dragging the rueful and reluctant dog.
I stand thirty feet away, with my jaw hanging open like a window, Having witnessed the whole mad event from hawk to horrified girl, And conclude, for the thousandth time, what a wild and blessed gift, What a bloody and magical machine it is, what a slather of stories, What an endless thicket! You really and truly could be issued fifty Lifetimes and spend each of them addled and muddled in wonder And never understand or even see more than a corner of the cloak. -Brian Doyle


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