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Chet Baker's Dog

Susan L. Helwig
From:   Catch the Sweet. Toronto: Seraphim Editions, 2001.


The pet he left behind in a mid-west hotel
prisoners dragged out randomly at night, to be tortured
every misery in the world collects
in a sticky pool
losses drip down
my father's birthday tomorrow
(no celebration this year)
the poem I wanted to write earlier today,
about cherries and virginity,
clever as dark glasses hiding puffy eyes
surely a chambermaid pitied Chet's dog,
took him in, loved him
not like Laika left in space until she died, alone
this is not about pets or fruit
leave all that and sit with the sorrow
my mother fattened herself on this brand of
loneliness: big bowls of whipped cream after school
dust in my garden
tomatoes still green, even though it's August
the child my body never gave me
(who pulled that string?)
and then there's the dog again;
it cries, it scratches.



Susan L. Helwig's works copyright © to the author.


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