from Autobiography of My Alter Ego

A weekly poem, read by the author.
June 28 2000 3:00 AM

from Autobiography of My Alter Ego

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.

Yusef Komunyakaa's new book is Warhorses.

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