Wayne Lanter

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From in this house of men

In the Morning

In the morning the Columbia broke up
over Texas leaving a twenty-mile dust cloud.
The rest of the day was without incident,
but as if he knew something had gone wrong,
absent the benefit of television or radio,
the dog barked all night, circling the yard
on his tether, following the dusted path
worn in the grass from his house to the fence
and back. Nothing we could say assuaged
his disquiet. Nothing would ease him.
At the fence he lowered his head
to see through the warped wooden slats
into the faint shadows on the other side.
Clearly, there was something there,
intent upon entering the yard.
Of course this was not the first night,
not the first time for either of us.

I counted his barks, once, twice,
the peculiar hollow and rote repetition,
the diminishing passion, as if he
already knew fierceness and bravado
would do no good. I waited as he paused
to reconsider, to imagine that he
might have gotten it wrong, hoping
this would explain his affliction. It did not.

In the morning he was somber,
almost embarrassed by the night before,
by the barking at what he could not see,
could not get into his head. Occasionally
he turned to the fence, and the sky, yes,

the far, vacant sky, as if it was the problem.
But there was nothing that I could see,
nothing beyond the fence other than a random
dust-devil. Nothing as yet, though several
fence slats moved ever so slightly,
pushed loose and turned in the wind,
as if some great weight had leaned on them.


Success and happiness are written in white ink on white paper.
Human problems and suffering are scrawled in blood and black ink.


If you put your hand in water and pull it out,
it will not leave a hole.
But your hand will be wet,
and that is the source for a thousand years of wonder.


It is a short step from
believing in
what is not there
to not believing in
what is there.

in memoriam

Each narrative, be it art, science, or gossip, provides a fragment for the awakening, enhancement, and extension of the consciousness that embraces it.