Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lord Dog at the Fork

The bowlegged dog looked mighty solid
standing there, lord over the fork of a dirt road.
And as we, she and I, approached in our carriage
her boot eased back from the gas. I quipped:

Let’s let the lord decide which road we’ll travel.
As a poet I like to make vague allusions to things
like the work of another poet, especially knowing
that I stand alone, heel toe and unbalanced, entrenched

in ruts dug by the itinerant poetry wagon that crisscrosses
the solar fields. And as I struggle to keep my look of cool
and maintain a semblance of self-assuredness, a grooved out
beatnik hipster of daydream delusion, a tightrope walker

with Converse treads in the bumpy ditch of the
poetry wagon solo allusion semblance wheel rut—
wait, where was I?— that dog watched our approach.
We watched him. He stood solid. We rolled forward

nearing the point where a decision would need to be made,
because, after all, a man and a woman can’t just climb
into a carriage and set off on a journey together only to
pause indefinitely at the first juncture and be unable

to make a decision about which way to go, left or right,
or whether to fork at all, perhaps choosing to remain
stalled at the crossroads and set up shop selling groceries
and souvenirs to couples traveling on, undaunted

by the big choices. But we, she and I, are watchers
and we put our faith in the lord, knowing in our hearts
that he certainly wouldn’t steer us down
some dangerous path pocked out with wheel cracking divots.

He stood solid. We watched him. He barked one time
and turned to his right, our left, and raised his snout
slightly to sniff the breeze. We looked down that way
and the road curved a slope to where an old covered bridge

passed over a creek. The dog looked to us back over his haunch.
We had come some distance already and didn’t know
where we were at all. We trusted the lord though. In the short time
we had been together, he hadn’t yet steered us wrong.

But guide or not, we, she and I, had to choose our path.
We drove. We paused again. Backpedaled and turned.
That old covered bridge sure was pretty.

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