The Lords of Life and Death

Black dog this morning,

growling, hackles erect.

I whispered to it as it

pounded its fence, “Hassan!

Hassan!” which means

“Handsome” or “Beautiful.”

I held my black umbrella

like the vulture it was. The dog

wanted to attack despite

my compliments, despite

the silver rain, and the

flying gray clouds which

looked like horses emerging

from mountains. “Hassan.”

Benefactor, provider of roasted lamb

and ripe figs and flat mitts

of bread and yogurt and leaves

of mint and tents bright in the desert

and my vulture wanting to fly

away from me, as I hold on

because it is beautiful

as the struggle.