11 11



It’s a small world
This place where I try to live
Where wind speed and temperature often match.
winter lays me down
Sky bright blue, sun clear,
snowless tundra
With a wind so sharp it flattens
The plume of steam from the
Sugar factory into a long grey line.
The long field grasses, too
Bow to the 50 mile per hour gusts.
Layers of coats and hoods
only briefly
Defy the knife.
my right ski glove skewered
into an unknown gulf stream
When I foolishly remove it to adjust the wool scarf
Across my face to warm my air.

Charlie never minds much
He loves the scents of the dusty, dusky meadow
Where we walk together each day.
I am mystified that it all seems new to him
Every day and every season.
A gift I cannot share with him.

We slide together down dark reeds
Into the deep Tri State Irrigation Canal
A strange, silty parting of seas
Of corn and alfalfa
In winter, dry, and a moment’s respite
From the haunting prairie
howling through the junipers

Frees me
for that moment from the feel
Of a Grapes of Wrath scene.

Ever alert, Charlie somehow realizes
It is time to turn south and stumble
Along wheat stubble and home.
He is tiring too
Scarred and bleeding
his paws suffer
From the other evils,
sand burrs and puncture vines
He shows me his painful feet
and I rub the hurts.

In this inhospitable land
He knows when to stop
chasing prairie dogs
And become my seeing eye dog.
My glasses are fogged in the growing chill
My eyes glazed with soot and grime
I stagger more
He steadies more.
Over the wind, I think I can hear
The kitchen tea kettle.

It’s a ritual he loves
The same sidewalk
Same lonely lea
Where few others trod
I plod.
To him it’s a thrill
Rabbits and Rattlers
To me
it all seems a bit
Fiddler on the Roof.
I dream of a place where I hear
ocean over wind
And seas part for skiffs and scows.
Perhaps those worlds, too, become small
But I fancy it is not so
Over my Red African Roombi Tea.

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