Jonathan Travelstead

The Dyslexic, Insomniac Agnostic 

lies awake some June nights, wondering if there is a Dog
            Like the one-liner, sleep leaves me to the wolves, or the muzzle
of this yellow labrador sprawled over my shoulder,
            wanting for nothing. I can’t tell if it’s desire, or hope

keeping me awake. A desire to see our first steps on Martian soil,
or hope that quantum computers will make us better
humans once they arrive. I wait for my watch’s glow,
            a pulse at my wrist. I want to see the future when it arrives,

so I ladder the house’s eaves, & pitch myself at the stars’ calculus
            prickling that worn, black screen. I stare at a point
beyond the waxy leaves of the neighbor’s magnolia where the main
            feature entitled “Nothing Ever Ends, Ever” helps me

keep vigil for patterns it’s in my nature to find. It’s me up there,
plotted in the ping & fading chalk of bolides
glancing off this pale, blue dot. Only I don’t live out there.
            I’m here & the Moon is here, two clumps of the present matter.

My dog waits below for me to learn this. That sweet, slobbery buddha
            who doles peace in restless snorts, pawing the rungs
for me to come down. Tonight, she’s the god I choose
            & I’m the dog she settles for. Descending the ladder,

granules of stone shingle pepper the rungs. She laps my feet.
Knees. Face. Nora whispers what is real
in a language I understand, a wet tongue lapping my face
            until all I want is fur, fur, fur.