|Oct/Nov 2014 Poetry Special Feature|
Tapestry artwork by Susan Klebanoff
This is the poem that happens after I become the preventer of dog funerals, chasing a leash across a lane and a half of traffic, dragging its oblivious inmate back to the curb while three cars and a bus consider running us down just for spite. This is the poem that happens now that I am stranded on the sidewalk, chain-link collar digging into my fingers, the only person on the block who knows that this is not my dog. This is the poem that happens at the end of a summer spent finding myself alone in museums and parks, public places contracting to single-occupancy rooms around me, that happens when I realize how often people must separate the absurd from the unremarkable by nothing but footprints and reputation and scent, when I realize how often we fail. This is the poem that happens when the man who must belong to the dog is dead asleep in a bus shelter, head bowed, scruffy socks gone beige with sweat, impartial strand of spit stretching from lip ring to pale blue tee-shirt, when the dog and I cannot wake him no matter how loud we bark, this is the poem that happens because I know I can't be certain this dog is his, but I tie him up and leave him there anyway.