The National Catholic Review

The guard dog
carries out the house’s multiple whims.
He mirrors our daily obsessions.
He scatters the sound of his decorations
amidst the settled orders.
We trust in his powers of smell
and the ferocity he keeps in check around children.
We know he won’t damage the fine rugs
or break the Sèvres plate that’s cracked.
If he’s present, our liturgies can take place
provided we don’t strip down
to the poverties that offend him,
or change our perfume imprudently.
And although he is a menace
he leaves us some tranquilizing space.
If we want to keep what we gain,
let’s give him his daily ration of fears,
and, taking needed precautions,
stroke his blessed belly to smoothness.
Is our fear so great
that we can come to love this violence
that claims to protect us?

Osvaldo Pol, S.J., teaches at the Universidad Católica of Cordoba, Argentina. His books of poetry include Situación y criba and De destierros y moradas. The translator is James S. Torrens, S.J., poetry e

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