Disease is a place, not an idea, where many
of us have to pull back our skins. Strangers are
interested in the meat this way
revealed, but not very interested.
They swab and want to tell us about it. Our
guileless meat! See it through little
windows set in our skins for convenience
like those macramé panes—some
are iridescent. Some are mirrors.

Meat wastebasket, ring
of packaged air. Finding climbing a hill
a hair difficult or
the steps one person takes to meet
another approaching. Even I,
old meat as I am, can’t help smiling.

Wild dogs, demonstrated and proved dogs, deliver
long howls from a diminished far place,
waiting and panting to get the be-all
and end-all of benevolence. Tame
meat looking up at the doctor through raw lashes
measuring a pinch of flushed dog part
or stomach skin with finger and thumb.
How far you’ve come.

Being a dog hasn’t keeled
over yet, rising, but with stunned
surprise, consternation, domestication,
and shame. Try to understand.
Rescue and training—the rapture
of the deep—won’t cut you in as a proud dog.
Survive by panting. I have.