it’s so hard to know what is true
this is the same all over the world
burning monks try to tell the truth in Nepal

the Berlin Wall is now in pieces
in a million different homes
scraps of painted concrete
sold by East Germans
and enterprising Poles

ghosts sing silly songs in Rwanda
and the Taliban still shoots school girls

Nelson Mandela, who was so angry
he saw black and white and red
walked out of that stone-breaking prison
and turned the other cheek

while somewhere in Serbia
a monk, desperate and holy
forgives himself in a sea of pivo

Leonard Peltier may have been at Wounded Knee
he sure as hell was at Little Big Horn
now, well, you know where he is now

it is so hard
to tell the truth

like the butcher with his thumb on the scale
we try to balance
what we know
with what we need
we try to reckon with reason
tell ourselves the story
that makes us feel best

dogs bark their barky bark
and cats meow and growl

I’ve even seen
a cat who could bark like a dog
when the occasion called for it

although she felt guilty about it
when discovered

it was the first time I saw
that animals are liars too

Michael Dennis