New Neighbors

The dogs are uncertain.

They watch as cars,

then trucks

pull up to the newly built

house across the street.

Three young girls

spill out of a car

and rush up the walkway.

The girls are familiar –

like visions

from a warm summer day.

If the dogs were outside,

instead of standing

noses pressed to glass,

they would know

these are the same girls

who spoiled them

and petted them with abandon,

just two blocks away.

For the family,

the new house

is a fresh start.

But the dogs are still uncertain.

Rainy Day Track Practice

The thundering herd

galloped by —

feet pounding,

shoes squeaking,

loud huffing

emanating

from the leaders.

If this were the Serengeti,

dust would billow

behind the massive group.

Instead,

shiny linoleum greets the pack

as they turn the corner —

only to sprint back,

lap after lap.

Is it safe

to leave my room?

Or will I be trampled

by the dedicated competitors,

each charging for superiority.

Testing Blues

“Why am I taking this test?”

Well,

the state wants to make sure

you have the writing skills

they require.

“What if they read

my searing memoir on loneliness,

or my ode to reunited friends

instead?”

“Oh! I know.

How about the state

reads my essay

on how to create

green spaces in our community?”

Sorry,

this is just about the data.

Arctic

The dogs eyed me

suspiciously –

Coats?!

Really?!

Less than 48 hours ago

we were sunning ourselves

in the verdant grass.

I know,

my eyes answered,

but snow has fallen

and the temperature dropped.

Just then,

the open door

admitted a burst of 21* air.

The pups and I

locked eyes,

tightened our collars,

squared our chins

and ventured forth.

.

What Have You Lost?

Poet Naomi Shahib Nye

spent years collecting

poems of loss.

Loss resonants.

I am quick to remember

the lost button,

favorite jacket,

childhood book.

These easy memories

block the door

in my mind’s eye

to larger losses —

loved ones,

innocence,

understanding.

Loss may be inevitable,

but,

no one every tells you

what to do

with the empty space

left behind.