Hound Dog Blues

In October, the dullest month
of all,
two rapists escaped
from Sugarloaf Detention Center.

The dogs tracked them through Miller’s Farm,
through pumpkins large as toddlers,
through the discarded rubbers
of puerile lovers
in another road-side field,
and finally into my crop of
secluded grain.

Pheasant swarmed like maudlin incubi
at the sight of them, the cops gangling
forward like agitated, absurd scarecrows,
when Jimmers, my hound,
raised up on the porch
and howled at the pain of it all.

Came word on the radio later
the rapists had been hunted down,
bitten and shot,
assaulted in a fortunate way.

As we napped on the porch,
a white van sped up to the house,
and emerged quickly a hurried man,
hurried like late breakfast,
clutching too many bright helium balloons.

My daughter would be surprised,
come home from school,
her mother last season laid
in the cold dirt of Emerson Baptist Church,
and her tenth birthday lost among the grieving.

After paying the man
and taking string in hand,
I stopped to twist the wedding ring
still shrouding my finger,
turned the gold circle with my thumb.

In that moment, just so quick,
Jimmers got his paw wrapped up in the strands,
and his howl made me jump and fall backward.
I watched the balloons

lift off with him
hanging limp under that rubber bouquet,
floating off in a straight line,
with me being one point
and Sirius, the Dog Star, the other.

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