I am tired of hearing about dogs
used as metaphors for the uncivilized.
Imagine a world in which humans
possessed at least twenty times
as many olfactory receptors,
able to distinguish the tang of cancer
rising musk-like from the bedsheets
next to a smoldering ash tray,
able to detect that one drop of blood
in every five quarts of water,
to know what you did last night
no matter how many times
you soap-scrubbed the evidence.
It does not take savagery
but more love than we can muster
to lick the hand you’ve sniffed,
to love despite the perfume of sins
we wear each day like a halo.
-Michael Meyerhofer (Delaware County)
first published in Mid-American Review, Vol. 27, No. 2, Fall 2006
Michael Meyerhofer is the author of three books and five chapbooks and he currently teaches at Ball State University in Muncie. His poem, “Ode to Dogs,” won the 2006 James Wright Poetry Award and previously appeared in Mid-American Review.
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!