V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





We pass the woody creek
and run along down valley through the trees.
Then there's a hairpin curve and the
long climb.  We are excited.  The snarling dog
on the backseat noses the breeze and drools.
On the edge of the high desert, we stop
and let him run.

The dog runs on and on, becomes a speck in the far
distance, then loops back.  By the time it gets back it is
evening, and everything is already in shambles.
Cocktails and coke had already been
done, and upstairs the telephone rings incessantly.
When we first got there it was really wonderful—
all friendly and cozy.  Skiing was often a pleasure.  Later,

in the kitchen, drinks would be mixed and stirred.
Then we'd all take our guns and go riding around shooting
at the mountainsides.  Now, it's hard to remember
what all of that was like.
The dog's lost ten seconds off its time
of several years ago.  Illegal explosions wake us
at all hours of the night.  Well-intentioned parties turn

into riots.  Cats cannonball through the house.
Nobody gives thought anymore to any
sort of obligation.  Bills pile up on the kitchen counter.
Children's needs go unmet.  Taxis continually
show up at the gate, and are sent away.  Nobody
wants to use them.  The dog runs on and on.

© by Halvard Johnson


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