An ephemeral asphalt pond after heavy rains in the parking lot of an abandoned mall, long-infested with gulls, as testimony – not merely to the inorganic evolution of consumerism, but of the intersection of NAFTA and other free-trade agreements, American soft segregation and hard apartheid, and the inherent discriminatory and predatory migration of US and Western global capitalism.
My dog, Woody, wakes up and wants breakfast – not just breakfast, but a very expensive kibble prepared with gravy and a quarter cup of warmed pumpkin (his dinner is more elaborate – it’s offered like a buffet plate or poke bowl). He eats, goes outside to do his business and investigate a little, comes back inside, and stops and sits on the rug to think, “Where is my baby?”
He goes around the house on a search for it, and comes back with a flying squirrel toy, ready to play. He bumps the laptop off my thighs several times to engage me, and we play. Later, he lets me know he’d like to go outside; we head to the basement, but he doesn’t want to wear his coat – he knows dogs don’t wear coats, and he hides behind the full clotheslines; we come to an agreement, and he permits me to put the coat on him.
We walk, but I don’t want to go to the park, so we walk through the neighborhoods; but when Woody gets to an arterial street which borders the park, he stops, looks, then looks at me, and pulls, to suggest that we should turn south right there and go to the park – because he’s actually in the mood for the park.
When we finally arrive home after our very long walk, i dry his paws and legs one by one and also his undercarriage; he kisses my face in an annoyed gratitude; then, he lets me know he wants to be close – he has two comfy dog beds and my son’s vacant bed, but he wants to be near – and climbs into a deep club chair made for one – onto my lap – he weighs 65 lbs.
this is no time to evict spiders, centipedes, the occasional, lone boxelder bug, dozens of out-of-season ladybird beetles or the almost-always odorless stinkbugs
from our houses
to do so now means certain death, outside
there is a field mouse in the dormant compost bin depositing black “rice” in washed egg shells and pomegranate rinds/
a mole engineers deeply excavated burrows around the foundation (much too close), mound-builds in the prairie, and constructs a minefield for toes and ankles in the remnant, dumb lawn/
the grey squirrels shelter in the woods across the snow-covered dirt road the red squirrel in the barn is insulating with stuffing from the patio cushions/
black walnuts, please mast next year oak sapling, pray, grow faster/
i will plant a meadow exclusively of sunflower come Spring/
black-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees, bluejays, woodpeckers, and cardinals, but especially, the juncos have learned to tolerate, and expect my winter presence among them, per nemerov’s counsel, i don’t wear feathers in my cap – or coat/
the remaining turkey and deer still grieving, post-hunting season are tentative, but returning; i set out stone salt licks and millet, reverently, repentantly, respectfully, for them/
i count the crows each morning but truer, i count on them their steady, regal presence their voices call to me for sardines, kibble, peanuts i oblige and always will
[can] we all [can] live here alongside inside and outside together, as kin