I hitchhiked a year
with Bullet, my impish
gray mutt. She was the only one
who didn't come to me
as a stranger, wagging her tail
as if I'd gone around the block
for an hour. I left my mother
waving in the doorway, my father
drunk in the den. With guitar
& rucksack, we slept in bindweed
& kudzu, apple orchards & ball
fields, beneath trestles
& in voluptuous, borrowed beds
in one-horse towns, flophouses
& parks in big cities,
wild songs & flowers
in my wild hair. I thumbed
the pages of dog-eared
Articles of War, a ghost
of Nam still in the clothes
I wore. I was thankful
for the Big Dipper & the night
owl in the oaks, thankful
Bullet hadn't growled & barked
that morning, as she'd done
so many times before
when I brought home
the slow perfume of women
on my clothes & hands.
TODAY IN SLATE
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