That Hound, Consequence

Consequence is a hound that follows—
a shadow-shackled beast at the heel,
and the hound will gnaw and maul all those
living, thoughtless, their daily lives till
we are maimed, gutted, we are bled out
by its rabid bite, its prey instinct,
and while it chases us all about
it is a hound unbreakably linked.
Domini Canis, true hound of God,
stalking each choice we make, right or wrong,
cause and effect but a chain which gnawed
cannot be broken, and ever-long
reaches adown the years without fail—
not a stray, but linked as inborn truth
and always astride the hunting trail
to bring gift of calamitous tooth.
A fanged cornucopia that reaps
the planter of its dragon-tooth seeds
whether one is awake, or one sleeps;
slights, mistakes, happenstance, or misdeeds.
There are those who find a scapegoat, though,
to bear the bitemarks upon their flesh,
thousands, even, lined up in a row
to receive the wrathful teeth afresh,
and some share the hounds of Consequence,
as more hounds are bidden with a howl,
the bloodlust growing at crimson scents
while chains entwine, and the hounds gnash and growl.

A hound gnaws at my ankle as yet,
a beast beset with bellicose ire
after a wreck I cannot forget
when a fool sped on a thin, worn tire.
The hound tore his tire and made him slide
into oncoming traffic, headlong,
head-on into me, though I had tried
to brake, to shake loose fangs too headstrong.
The hound leapt at once into his lap
as an engine block, crushing his thighs
and it clamped my foot, like a bear-trap,
twisting it neatly contrariwise.
And though doctors righted my ankle
with haloes, scalpels, metal, and screws
the hound clamps even now to rankle
with each step, although I did not choose
to court the hound, that beast, Consequence,
nor did I wrong anyone that day;
the beast cares not, for he has his sense
and is loyal—never far away.

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