Definitions for an election year

by Gerald McCarthy

Grief was the name of your friends’ dog
a black Labrador that ran off
along the shore of Lake Michigan,
the summer you turned twentyeight.

Hope is green, my grandfather said,
like the spring, and Hope
the name of a woman
you knew in Iowa, someone
who promised dinner
& a cool drink. You got the drink.

Sleep is a dark hood
you pull over your head
when the night comes
& there are only stars.

Truth, the general said,
is varied truth has a slow fuse.
No, truth is the one thing
it touches all things
that touch the heart.