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When We See Beauty

2008 December 18
by J. Scott Mosel

An Appetite for Beauty

All the neighborhood hounds
begin to howl. I swear

I was about to tell you
what happens when we see

beauty, but the notes
seemed to tame me

as I went along
framed by things.

I could stop here,
but this poem

is a dog. Lift you hand.
He won’t bite, but you may

find yourself
lifting your leg and stepping

into the canvas.

Now we are getting somewhere.
There are two squash

on the windowsill, and three leaves
falling above them

tickled by light. It’s true,
too perfect

to be real: this poem is a dog.

Someone actually says,
It’s amazing what can happen

with a brush stroke
and an appetite for beauty.

You become curious, desperate,
and step forward for a better look.

There, out in the courtyard,
below the window in this painting

of squash in sunlight,
a dog walks an obedient old man

from puddle to shadow
after a rain. The air is fresh

and cool. Steam rises
from the asphalt.

It would be nice
to call this beauty,

but the dog and the man
have disappeared,

and you’re alone
with your squash.

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