Devin Johnston

Chester Sleeping
New Poems From the USA


All day you sleep on a green expanse
of couch, waking only to pursue
a trapezoid of sunlight as it glides
toward dusk. A speckled forepaw waves
and your third eyelid flicks across
a clear surface. Swallowed barks well up
as from a cave of sea lions, announcing
shadow dogs—distant, but no more
phantasmagoric than the waking world
of scent you trail from step to curb.

Here is an old trace, redolent of
vinegar and lilac, you approach
with care and apprehension. It is a dream
of what has gamboled past, archaic
filaments and plumes of sense
for which there are no human names.
Pausing, you sniff, then touch the tip
of your pink tongue to a blade of grass.