When to Say Goodbye

dried

When to Say Goodbye

 If all goes well it will never happen.
The dry grass in the shade whispers

while the vines crunch underfoot,
releasing a bitter odor. A year ago

I led my dog to his death, the third
in five years. How such counting

precedes affection, dwindles ever
so slowly, one star winking out after

another, till only the morning gray
hangs above us, solemn, indefinite.

Voiceless. If I could cock my head
to howl, who would understand? Not

one dog or three, neither mother nor
mentor, not my friend’s sister nor her

father and his nephews, the two boys
belted safely in the back seat. No.

I walk downhill and closer to the creek,
where the vines are still green.

In the shade of a large cedar, a turtle
slips into the water and eases away.

“When to Say Goodbye,” drafted during the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge, was published by Oxidant | Engine in May 2017, and subsequently nominated for a Best of the Net 2017 award.

While Walking My Dog’s Ghost

bunny 

While Walking My Dog’s Ghost

I spot a baby rabbit
lying still in a clump of grass
no wider than my hand.

It quivers, but I pretend
not to have seen, for fear
that the dog, ghost or not,

will frighten and chase it
into the brush, beyond
its mother’s range,

perhaps to become lost
and thirsty, malnourished,
filthy, desperate, much

like the dog when we
found each other that hot,
dry evening so long ago.

jackboy

This first appeared here in September 2016.

 

Arthritis

photo(10)

Arthritis

If at night I stray in thought,
dreaming of nimble fingers

and my departed dog’s walk,
will you smile

when I scratch his absent ear
and apologize for the times

I failed him? Even combined,
all the words in these unread books

could never soothe the guilt
of leisure and complacency, nor

match the joy of jumping
for the kicked ball, no matter the

outcome, despite the consequences.

image

“Arthritis” is included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus, and has appeared on the blog as well.

All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.

Available at Amazon (UK) and Amazon (US)

Poem Nominated for Best of the Net

My poem “When to Say Goodbye” has been submitted to the Best of the Net 2017 anthology by the editors of Oxidant Engine. I’m honored to be nominated alongside one of my favorite poets, Khaty Xiong.

Dog

photo(18)

 

Dog

Not away, but after
or contrary,

the reversal indicative
and untoward: scratching,

she spirals to the perfect
spot between us, touching both,

then sighs. In comfort, in ecstasy,
in contentment, who can say?

But we sigh in response.

 

SONY DSC

“Dog” first appeared on the blog in October 2014. The photo is of Apollonia, aka Apple.

BUY MY BOOK, OR THE CHIHUAHUA GETS

BUY MY BOOK, OR THE CHIHUAHUA GETS…

Pardon the interruption. The book in question is From Every Moment a Second, available for prepublication order from Finishing Line Press.

…A BELLY RUB!

WHAT? YOU WERE EXPECTING SOMETHING ELSE?