The blind dog had to be carried downstairs
and out into the yard to pee.
I can’t remember his name.
I’ll call him a he though he might have been a she –
a nervous terrier like the one who bit me in the ass
when I was a paperboy pedaling the Racine Journal Times.
The days that clocks turned forward, the dog lurched his few steps
then stopped. Sidewalks whispered love notes to his nose.
Little Leaguers paraded through Prospect Park
with striped pants, billed caps, names like Brooklyn Tigersharks.
I was with Roy at the bagel shop:
"Nukie, it’s me, we’re at Snuffy’s. Dr. Krumeyer’s buying out the joint.
Let’s re-heat the Turkish beans with the Aspra and the Nova and the coffee."
The afternoon before, that of the lost wallet,
I had screamed and cursed at God, ready to join the fallen angels.
And the day before that, and the month, and the year itself,
hadn’t I been kvetching about injustice and loss? –
the last remaining hairs on my head, gone,
the toenail vanished from running with a shoe too small,
And the book of poetry, Letter to an Imaginary Friend by Thomas McGrath,
probably lent to an imaginary friend, since departed.
I had bellowed like a boar unwilling to accept
such slipperiness in the cosmos:
Trudie Jones, poet, teacher and storyteller, lost to cancer,
then my father – at his funeral more than one of this friends said I resembled
Henry so much it was like he was not really gone, but he was.
The earth swallowed him. All I had left was his face
which I wore like a sackcloth, yet there was spring suddenly
nuzzling my ear like a lover after a quarrel and I was ready to drop
my complaints and root for the dog. Magnolia drooped
down to meet me, forsythia exploded.
Roy’s saxophone wailed louder than a subway rattle
on a day when even the ghosts were content.