Three Poems By Dan Campion

               The Hounds
We also glimpsed the goddess. When she saw
our master, her excitement swept the glade.
Actaeon soon lay rent by tooth and claw
completely shorn as if by Hector’s blade.
Whose punishment was harsher, his or ours?
We had to watch our lord’s flesh come apart
just like a stag’s, though easier by far,
among us, raw, untouched as yet by art.
There wasn’t anything our pack could do
to heal his wounds and raise him up again.
All blamed Diana, but it wasn’t true.
Kept dogs act on their own not if, but when.
His people came and took him. We stayed here,
thick woods gone dark but our eyes grey and clear. 
              You’ll Need
One cutting board for onions, one for meat,
and one for parsley, apples, and the rest.
A set of dedicated knives. You’d best
wash towels often. Keep the counters neat.
A rack of spices. Pots, pans, baking sheet.
A kettle and a teapot and tea chest.
A house with time for tea is doubly blessed.
Plain tableware. Fresh food that’s fit to eat.
You’ll think of other things. A mixing bowl.
You don’t eat meat, one cutting board the less.
A pair of Champagne flutes. Well, good for you.
Perfection in the kitchen is a goal
elusive as the perfect game of chess.
Don’t grind the beans to dust before you brew. 
They say they’ve made a molecule to save
us from the latest plague. We must rejoice
at this while knowing how our spirits crave
catastrophe. We say, in Hamlet’s voice,
“The play’s the thing.” Heroic posturing
convinces in Act Two, but by Act Five?
And even then there’s no real reckoning.
How many villains vaccines leave alive.
Unbated swords and poisoned cups and cries
don’t rid us of our ghosts. They’ll prowl the wall
long past the day or night the last plague dies,
long after the last flag and rampart fall.
I don’t believe in ghosts. Our agony
dies when we do. But ghosts believe in me. 

Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism and co-editor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song. Dan’s poetry has appeared previously in Grand Little Things and in Able Muse, Poetry, Rolling Stone, Think, and many other magazines. A selection of his poems titled The Mirror Test will be published by MadHat Press in February 2022.

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