Jan/Feb 2008 Poetry Special Feature

Drying the Neighbor's Dog

by Arlene Ang

Photo by Steve Wing

Drying the Neighbor's Dog

There is no better morning for a stroll,
subtle pissing outside dress shops.
I order bread from the baker, entertain
the butcher with quips about the weather.

Clouds sag over rooftops like unmilked
breasts of wet nurses. Pedestrians
falter in their steps, scan the sky
for signs before exiting indoors.

Only the Pomeranian remains unperturbed,
tugs at the leash to mark another sidewalk
weed. I stop for cappuccino at the café.
A ten-block walk uphill does anyone good.

An ill-wind lures leaves from trees,
arrows unceasing rain. The bartender
kindly lends me his mother's umbrella.
Fuchsia is the devil's prayer, but I accept meekly.

Ludovico has to be dragged, one puddle
after another. He never misses a swan dive.
A strong gust snatches away my borrowed
shield. It bounces toward the road.

Automobiles break, horns and curses thunder.
I never look back. There is no need to pretend
that isn't mine. We reach the front porch,
both panting from the struggle upstream.

My shoes weep for a decent burial.
The baguettes are limp, my hair has gone vinyl.
The dog gets the blower, but I'm afraid Mrs. J
downstairs won't be neighborly for a long time.


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