Robert Hill Long


Can you feel the drugs tonight? I Disney-lullaby
the dog's cancer. On her bed, she floats
beyond trivia, laughter, tragedy.
Tramadol in butter, that's what she gets.

I watched my father drop through his morphine drip.
Soon my mother will reach that precipice.
Someday I'll be prepped for my last trip.
Tonight, I lie on the floor for my dog's ease.

Her name is Midnight. She sinks through dope-comfort.
As I hope for myself, when it's too late
to lie about all I could have done

for loved ones after spending my portion
on shitty humans I knew. Truth? I'd rather lie beside
Midnight who loved, blamed none and honestly died.



George Hitchcock 1914-2010

We ride chestnut mares toward cellos
bowed by Blake-naked angels. Everything
has a strong outline, though highlights are leached
like a favorite blue shirt washed too often.

Whatever we see or point to sings—
sometimes Monteverdi, sometimes Satchmo.
Apprehension transformed to song
is our advantage over life. Riders soften

voices here: See closer. Hear more. What
is horizon, why does it matter? No one cares.
The temperature of the sun explains

the warmth of our mounts. The replete
chorale emerging from all we have seen
once again for the last time fills the air.







I've been writing sonnets with my right hand for over ten years now—the most recent books are largely collections of sonnets and narrative or elegiac sonnet sequences—while the left hand sneaks in prose poems, brief fictions, or narrative poems, mostly about recent wars and their victims. The sonnet is a game whose rules preoccupy the thinking mind—tinkering with phrase, line-break, rhyme, compression, the syllabic limits—while the real work goes on in a reverie that counts on surprises or rather unanticipated discoveries. These two sonnets come from a current impulse to reframe what and where heaven is, how it operates, while knowing I don't really want to create a fixed cosmology to replace the shabby older ones.