How to Housebreak a Shadow


 Carolyn Moore

 

 

After catastrophe, perform in silk

under harsh lights and over the day's fresh

newspapers spread across the floor.

 

During its convalescent growth, console

the shadow sniffing, cowering, at your feet.

Pat it and point the papers out.

 

Tell it the intricate, shadow-free frost etched

on your pane is winter's fleeting jealousy.

Coax and hoist its confidence.

 

Push its nose in each failure—yet grant

it stints of thrills and frolic at the end

of the mindful leash teaching restraint.

 

Once, fractured and ambivalent, it shows

collared obedience, reward it. Call it

Grief and feed it beneath the sink.