Of an Afternoon
Posted on August 30, 2014
While I am trying to write this poem,
Supine on a florid couch
With laptop inertly pressed against
My belly, my dog insists upon
Licking my hands, gently
But persistently nudging her snout
Between my fingers and the keyboard.
Her tongue, like a wet fruit roll-up,
Slips its red circumflex around my knuckles.
I try to shoo her away–
Tell her that daddy is writing–
While passionate violins hum
From the tinny laptop speakers
And the fan slowly churns the
Dry August air above my head.
This is an afternoon I will never get back.
I know this like I know any other fact:
The dates of the Civil War, the major writers
Of the Harlem Renaissance, or how many
Players can be on a basketball court at one time.
But I also feel it with a sort of dull ache
That starts in my left big toe and radiates
Up through my femur, finally, restlessly
Nesting in the space between ribs three
And four on my left side (starting
From the bottom and counting up).
What a rare pain, to know the sensations
Of an afternoon will stay within that bubble
Of time, while the body–sweating, worrying, desiring–
Travels onward, gets older, and forgets.
My dog, her head now resting
Lightly upon my knee, will probably
Have forgotten this afternoon by this evening,
Busying herself with dinner and a final romp
Around the hay-bail in the backyard.
And that is fine, like the dry August air,
The cloud dappled sunshine, and the
Just-now-browning leaves that rustle
Above the heartbeat of violins.