Sawnie Morris

Signaling to You
January 25, 2020 Morris Sawnie

Signaling to You


You live with a young leopard and a poem levitating in the gravitational landscape.


A leopard has its own carnivorous nature inside the omnivorous nature you share with it.


In the same time and place, you make a gallery of clay objects –– half-found, half-shaped –– though your husband is the one who is an artist.


If an art object is compelling enough, you will, without hesitation, eat it.


Between those two dimensions ––  a leopard-in-the-house & the gallery-of-clay-objects –– the

poem floats, a particle strand subject to snag or sudden movement.


The leopard is the size of your no-longer-living dog. It rises and plays awkwardly across the well-lit room and back again.


The leopard’s gold coat is splattered with black coins and black & gold rosettes, like protoplasm or moveable type on an ancient disc.


When two realities make a currency of one, empathy is embodied, as is the danger of being eaten or banked hard against.



You read about friendship between a golden retriever and a leopard. The photo shows them lounging together, contented after play, in the back of a pick-up truck.


Inside a YouTube, a leopard and a young impala play in the eco-tone between woodland

and savannah. They nuzzle and roll on their backs, hoof and paw-touch.


You admire the impala’s lyre-shaped horns and nine-foot leap in divergent directions, though you question its taste in friends.


A leopard is an ambush predator and will kill its prey with one swift bite to the neck.


As your husband recovered from cancer inside his neck, your dog died of cancer sprung

from a hind leg.


When two realities make a currency of one, compassion is present, as is the need to stay alert.


Living with the threat of recurrence is living with an unpredictable factor in the house.



When an awkward leopard appears in the home it might be an ally whose movements mimic a past heart-break –– a dog with a missing leg, signaling to you.


You linger, observing two habitats, the leopard-in-the-house and the clay-objects-in-a-gallery occupying the same coordinate.


The poem makes a life-rope the way dreams layer one another and a bleed-through occurs on the cover of a history book.


Your husband was in the dream, though remained outside the picture frame.


The dream magician says an ally is careful about exposing itself and a portent of good fortune when spotted in daylight.

Sawnie Morris’ full-length collection, Her, Infinite (New Issues Press), won a New Issues Poetry Award and her chapbook in The Sound a Raven Makes (Tres Chicas Books) co-won a New Mexico Book Award. Other honors include a Poetry Society of America Bogin Award, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, inclusion in an online edition of Best American Experimental Writing, and recent publication in PoetryLana Turner, and Puerto de Sol.