Dogs 2007

CURBSIDE OFFERINGS
(8/27/07)


Streetside

he walked through
the neighborhood
every day

it was
a two mile trip
from his downtown
rat trap efficiency
to the nearest
grocery store

the route
he took
although not
the shortest
allowed him
to meander through
the midtown streets
and he
had gotten to know
the houses
and even
some of the people
as the years
had passed
him by

he tried
to imagine
a time
when he too
might live
in a comfortable dwelling
possibly with a companion
and leave his present
poverty-ridden
solitary existence
far behind

he might as well wish
for a mansion
on the Moon
for all the good
that it would
do him

one house
particularly fueled
his famished
imagination
a corner lot
modest home
well tended yard
large trees casting
a protective shade

it could have been
a postcard
for Middle America

not knowing
what else to do
he would leave
little offerings
to the gods
of domesticity
that had produced
such an oasis
of plenty
in his sparse
and penurious
badlands

where the curb
made a corner
he would place
his gifts
hoping for blessings
of the kind granted
to the family
within

not knowing
the best objects
to catch
the attention
of the old ones
he would yin yang his way
hoping to catch
some providence
between
the absolutes

an egg
and a bird skeleton

a coat hanger
and a
condom wrapper

a broken
switchblade
and some
jelly beans

he always seemed
to find something
along his path
to fuel
his daily
dichotomy

he left
them there
hoping for deliverance
believing only
that he would be back
the next day
no better
for the gesture

coins
for food
reaped a more
expedient
reward


Yardside

he pulled into
the driveway
another workday
done

he sat
in the car
for a few minutes
before going inside
to start that
routine

he just needed
of few moments
to decompress

then he remembered

what collection
would be waiting
on the corner
from the monk
of freedom
this evening?

he got out
and walked over
to where the street sign
sprung
from his August-dried
yard

he saw
a small
pile there

a rusty key
and some
knotted rope

perfect

at first
the trash
annoyed him
but then he saw
that there was method
in the refuse
and he began
considering
the message
in the puzzling
piles

it was all
beginning
to make
sense

he walked
through the door
hand clutching
the prize

"what did that
old freak
leave you
today?

we should really
call the police
about that
bum"

he looked
at his wife
and considered
the rope
for a moment

"he's not hurting
anybody"

he looked
back at her
the bills
on the table
the room
about him

"I think
that I'll go
for a walk"

"what about dinner?"
she asked

he gazed
out the window
over her
shoulder
as he answered
from a distance

"you should
eat it"