Suellen Wedmore

What They Wouldn't Give Me as a Child,

I made from an old
towel in the bottom
of the linen closet,
smelling of Kool-aid
and talcum, and from
a cracked leather boot
that tumbled onto the floor
whenever I reached for
my patent leather shoes.
His nose, the most sensitive
part of this delight
was bicycle-tire black
and always ready for
adventure. There
were also, of course,
four legs, chunky
as hydrants, and the eyes—
shiny enamel buttons—
were candor of dog.
I can see him now,
ready to go out
into the neighborhood
to bring back to me,
I hoped, secrets
of the grown-up world.

When no one bends
to pet him, his stuck-on
tail droops and he skulks
into a field of wild
carrot; only the Monarch
sees the graceful tilt
of his tender body,
his yearning for touch
and marrow. His paws
are cushions appraising
earth's possibility
as he searches for answers
to questions I don't even
know how to ask.

At night, when my dog
returns without
the explanations
I think I need,
he flops dustily
at my feet smelling
of compost and gasoline
and looking like
a childhood torn apart,
but the next day
after a slice of bacon
scrambled into imaginary
kibbles, we begin again.

—after Carlos de Andrade