Poem: ‘Dog in the Tomb’

Jim Harrison was an artist, author, and poet. This piece, a recollection of a biblical dream, appears in Alta Journal’s Fall 2021 issue.

jim harrison
Joe Ciardiello

My seventy-seventh Easter.
What luck. I dreamt I was in the tomb
with Jesus. He was very cold because he was
dead. But not for long. Christ the Lord
is risen today. Hallelujah. I was in a
corner wrapped in a robe. I called for Cain
the little dog that had spent forty days
in the wilderness with Jesus. He came over
for a few minutes to warm me up
and then faithfully went back to the Savior.
I wondered if I’d be here until I was bones.
Suddenly there was a clap of thunder and a blinding
flash of light. Jesus and the dog were gone
and I was sitting on the bank of the River Jordan.
This is not scripture it’s a dream,
a dream, the stuff our life is made of.•

© 2021 James T. Harrison Trust. Excerpted from Jim Harrison: Complete Poems, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press on October 26, 2021.

This poem appears in the Fall 2021 issue of Alta Journal.

Jim Harrison (1937–2016) was the bestselling author of nearly 40 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
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