Dogs 2007

NOT SO TOUGH
(9/11/07)


I walk
the neighborhood
3 or 4 times
a week
depending upon
work
weather
and a wandering
attitude

some
of the folk
have seen me enough
not to tense
but only
a few
hazard an
apprehensive wave
or uncertain
hello

I don't fit
but I must
seem harmless

only odd

the animals
are easier
even the most protective
resigned to woofs
of threatless
acknowledgement
as I cross
their visual fields
of possession

the two
most difficult
were a tandem
of Yorkies
yipping
yapping
lapdogs
not pleased
with my periodic
presence

one day
tired
or their noise
I approached the fence
sticking a finger
through the wire
until their frantic bites
turned
to calm laps
of little tongues

now
they adore me
and as I near
they hurry
toward my
familiar steps
noses
through fence
tiny faces framed
in chain link

they await
the blessing
of their strange
street god
and I allow them
to taste the sweat
from my forehead
before continuing
on my way

today
as I arose
from their oblation
I saw the neighbor woman
across the street
smile
at my passing
for the first
time

I can
no longer
fool anyone