‘Runaway Dog’ and other poems
By: Jerry Durick
What do you say when she runs away?
You run after her of course
calling her name and promises
and to stop.
You can see the future evolve as
you run –
this will happen, then that.
Everyone is a stranger at moments
Time stands still, next things are
ready to happen.
She looks back, laughing, you know
the look, you picture it as
the last look you will ever see.
Things are desperate
and you’re running close to empty.
Then she stops.
It ends that way, she returns
wags her tail
and spends the rest of the evening
trying to sit in your lap
but that whole runaway thing is
hard to forget –
what happened and what might have
are hard to forget.
There it was – that spider
The spider I had dealt with before
An arachnid vulgaris
Your average bathroom spider
There it was frozen in place
Next to the sink
Awaiting its fate.
I had dealt with it before
Told it that I would not
Look for him, hunt him down
As long as he didn’t do this
Show up when I was there
Looking vermin-like, like now
At best an intruder in my careful
I always think of us in terms of
That old Am Lit standard
Edward’s “Sinners in the Hands of
An Angry God,” holding him over
His fate depending on my whim.
But I’m not an angry god and
He is not a sinner
And I’m just a guy who bargains
With a spider
Thinking he will keep his word.
Volunteers can park in the Olive Garden’s parking lot.
It’s Saturday morning and their business is slow, so
there should be room for everyone who shows up.
The volunteers’ work must get done, gets done once
a year, around this time. The cemetery is waiting for
them as always, always patiently waiting just out of
sight, almost forgotten, except for the one Saturday
when they gather to clean up what’s left of the year.
There’s a lot to do – there are leaves and branches to
gather, along with a surprising amount of bottles, boxes
and general litter from passersby, even the fence needs
to be straightened back to its original form and shape.
This is the oldest cemetery in town. Inactive now, it has
become the victim of the town’s progress, surrounding
its dead with chain restaurants, car dealers and gas stations.
There’s even a Good Will across the way with its coming
and going. Few, if any, know it’s there, the burial ground
of our earliest residents. The stones are modest, like
the people buried there. Nothing much really, but once
a year they volunteer, come out to tend to what time has
done to this forgotten place, to these forgotten people.