GETTING RICH (a dog’s story)

“One these days I’m gonna get rich
from playing the lottery
But for now
I’m counting up my money
One penny
after another

Put them all together
now I got three dollar
enough for 40oz amber
of pleasure
and maybe
a cheap cigar”

he would holler
chest stuck out
full of Johnny Courage
and grand ideas

It’s the simple things she misses the most
two draws left
on the shared cigarette
last night’s spaghetti
back in the oven tonight
served up again for dinner
today and tomorrow

And she tells her child
son I don’t know what we are gonna do
the child support didn’t come in again
and the stamps are running low
turn the lantern down some son
gotta save the oil
winter still has a long way to go
and we haven’t even reached the snow

It was the middle of the night
You and the kid were asleep tight

He made his way out real quiet
guilty sneak thief
like I don’t know
like I can’t smell the bourbon and cowardice
and the stench of that other woman
all over his soul

I followed along in the shadows
tracking him
insuring he didn’t
change his mind
lose his nerve
his staggering swagger
and turn back
to where you and the boy were fast sleeping

unaware of the blessing
like roses blooming
in the dark morning

He reaches into the coffee can labeled
Takes the twenty out
and drops his house key
back in return

He creeps
almost as quietly as me
making his way out of the house
so very carefully

He don’t want any confrontation
don’t want to explain
to the boy
that he aint his responsibility

So instead
he looks down onto me
and says:

“I’m sorry dog
don’t know what to say
The child support
didn’t come again today
And there aint enough here
for me to stay”

Out the door he walks
Head up with blind eyes
Into the light and darkness and noise and filth
I walk quietly back
To where
The boy and his mother sleep
Lay down in front of the door
Head on paws
Ears alert
Guarding the greatest treasure ever

No intruders
allowed here
Not even
the stranger
that just
left here
©, 2014

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