dereliction of duty

September 16, 2013 § 4 Comments

dereliction of duty

at one end of the rope,
an old man’s dog
thin trunk of
plum tree at
the other
between the two not
a blade of grass survived

nearing the end of
my route I would stop,
drop my transistor into
my newspaper sack,
and try to
translate his mournful language
into one which fit within
an awkward boy’s understanding

howls that colored
afternoon’s aura in
hues of despair
whines forming canine
pleas for a measure
of companionship

if the plums were ripe
I would mind his tether,
bend a branch
and take one
then let him lap
the juice from my fingers

he never tried to remove
any of them
though, I knew he had reason to
I came, after all,
from a race of captors,

to take from a tree
the dog was sure
he was assigned
as guardian

(c) 2013 Fred Whitehead


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