Today's poem is by Charles Rafferty

The Man With a Missing Dog

One evening, while searching for a dog
that had squeezed beneath its fence,
I came across a couch with its legs knocked off
in the center of a field — as if someone intended
to click through the channels
of maple and scarlet oak. The couch
had been dragged through jewelweed and prickers,
when someone decided that a hundred feet
behind the strip mall was far enough.
It had been there for months, maybe years.
There were beer cans and condoms, countless cigarettes,
a pile of ash dispersed — and a sapling
driven like a nail between the cushions
that the earth kept pounding up.
No one would recline on a couch like this —
its stuffing erupting and full of dirt.
But somebody did. Somebody had a good time
out in the goldenrod and shade. I thought of the girl
who must have been there — how she opened
like a gift, how she redeemed the blasted upholstery,
how she overcame a field of random trash
with the traffic blurring by — the glow
of the Mobil station lighting the steps
she took on the way back out. It was private —
a place that no one frequented but high school lovers
and runaway dogs. Good for her, I thought —
to make use of her body and this palsied couch
before it became worthless to all but the mice
and millipedes. But it was getting late.
I saw where the path continued and I took it.
Somewhere up ahead the unleashable dog
had begun its nightly barking.

Copyright © 2014 Charles Rafferty All rights reserved
from The Unleashable Dog
Steel Toe Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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