Puppy

It's more than to be or not to be;

more like the sound of the Carolina mockingbird
when his song goes unanswered hollowing out his throat
during the last throes of mating season,

more like the loblolly pine bravely standing in the path
of a runaway wildfire in a field of parched undergrowth,
the blaze blackening the surrounding forest.

Lee has never thought about marriage until meeting Pat,
but because the birdsong explodes around her and her
leaves are receiving cinders blowing from the pasture,
she and Pat are in Boston for a two-week honeymoon.

Both moms whisper of grandchildren. Pat and Lee haven't 
even settled on what kind of puppy to get. Grandchildren! 
What grandchildren!

Lee and Pat realize neither has the temperament or desire to 
be a parent. Lee likes to spend time away from Pat with old 
friends, not wanting to be completely tied down. Pat plays 
piano and sings in a bar on weekends, not a recipe for 
dedicated parenthood.

A beautiful June morning holding hands on the swan boats 
in the public garden, strolling through the Monet exhibit at 
the Museum of Fine Arts and later, huddling at the Sanders 
Theater in Cambridge, listening to James Taylor singing 
Carolina In My Mind, and of course they realize they have 
more than Carolina on their minds.

Back at the Copley Hotel, things get out of hand quickly - 
clothes and inhibitions tossed wildly about, resolutions 
forgotten, promises unmade, and before you can say 

Jack Snabbit, the odds against me being here go from 
humongous to infinitesimal and I can vouch for the fact that 
what happens in Boston stays with you and follows you 
home like an adorable puppy. Puppy! What puppy!

Next Poem

Puppy and Baby

Return to Down South Selection