Sentient Creatures
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Greg Scott Brown

lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his partner Craig and their terrier Emma.

His poems have most recently appeared in the online journal Tattoo Highway, and are forthcoming in the anthology Off The Rocks.

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Scala Naturæ

Furrowing the leaf-littered
autumn streets, my terrier
noses her way to storm-drains,

where lately,
we’ve seen raccoons
slinking down these routine

fixtures, these peep-show
into what may be left of Hades,

which remind me, block by block,
even the placid suburbs sit
uneasy on the fearful marrow of the earth.

Up here, animals who can’t be tamed
must live fugitive lives, driven underground—
yes! everything that means—

dodging the war we don’t mean to wage
on all we admire, but cannot love.
Meanwhile, my dog is no dilettante;

she chases everything—
phantom or fact. That is her job.
She’s programmed to kill,

though oddly honorable for all that.
She makes no distinction between
revered or reviled—between robin or rat.