Poems by Mike Bonikowsky

Canis familiaris

Come on, wolf, and let us play
Though all my days you’ve stalked me
Through every hour of my life
Down every hall and highway.
Come let us race and chase and
Roll and tumble intertwined
I cannot escape you, and
You cannot devour me.
Come on, wolf, and chase me home
To where the lion and the lamb,
Mental illness and the man
Lie down in peace together.


All the lights are coming on
Fuel Low, Service Engine Soon,
Transmission, tire pressure and
Every other kind of doom,
The light on the thermometer,
Minimum Payment Due,
Pushing notifications
That just keep on pushing through.
The forecast’s all for heat alerts,
The apps are all for war.
The warnings sound for everything
They make a warning for.
So put ye the car in neutral,
Commit thy smartphone to the deep.
Though the watchmen watch in vain,
He gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm for sinking

Sink, you stones, and be not afraid
To go the whole way down.
Make your bed beneath the waters
For he broods over them.
Let yourselves be shaped and tumbled
In the depth and darkness,
For though the current’s swift and cold
The shapes it makes are smooth.
A hand may lift you up again
To fill some hollow place
In an altar, arch, or sling, but
Again, the hand may not.
And if your calling’s to be shaped
By time and troubled water
Then you’ll be smooth beneath his feet
When the riverbeds are raised.


It’s human to be tired
It’s human to be cold
It’s human to be lonely
It’s human to get old.
It’s human to be losing
It’s human to get lost
And it’s human not to have
What being human costs.
It’s human to need saving
It’s human to be saved
It’s human to be carried
From the cradle to the grave.
It’s human to be dying
It’s human to be raised
It is human not to be
Who is worthy to be praised.