A Brief Treatise

Listen to the author read this poem:


I was alone in a room with a radio, a dog, and a glass of water.
That’s how it was. There was a chair, a bed, the usual hotel furnishings.
My connecting flight had been canceled and it was toward midnight.
The hotel was in a rundown part of the city. Then it was—
As we say in the vernacular—then it was I had to take the dog out.
My guide dog wearing her leather harness. Me? Wearing
Track shoes and a rumpled business suit. Out we went,
First into a hallway that smelled of soap flakes;
Then up to street level, a strange arrangement
Hard to explain, then down a corridor
Filled with plastic ferns
Until we reached a parking lot
The only place to take the dog, or so I’d been told
And there we were
Standing in the nowhere of blindness—
That beautiful nothing with its hope and autonomy and its private song
Shared between man and animal, the oldest song on earth.