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In an Art Gallery, I Am Moved to Contemplate Pack Animals

Lately I’ve been looking at things that hurt me.
Caring, as I do, not at all for art.

When a frame hangs its weight from a wall
I feel mostly for the wall.

Before carving, the sculptor remarks
the shape of his art inside the rock,
being that the rock is built by Time
and the Earth to carry the smooth musculature
of the beautiful thing I see in it,
he says.

Some burdens are unfair.

It’s the Saturday before Easter,
and the beginnings of something are percolating
somewhere in a cave, waiting for a rock
to roll away. That rock, likely, just a rock.

When you fall to your knees to tug your shoe up
over your heel your stacked bones groan
like a camel. Sad pack animal—no.

The camel’s purpose is not to stir
the strange goings-out of the heart we call
empathy but to bear weight and even
to like it, probably, its whole body
down to its hard knee-joints tells me this.
No matter. I’ll feel what I feel.
Posted 03/29/13
Thanks to Zone 3, in which this poem first appeared.
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