The Poetry Lover

by Cornelia Rohde

He’s brought his dog to the poetry evening.
What’s his name? Puppy.
His face crinkles like Bob Dylan’s
with greying tufts of beard.
He listens quietly to the featured poet.
In the after-talk, he argues performance
and written poetry have the same attributes.
He comments that he likes the sibilant sounds
in DH Lawrence’s poem Snake; says it works
well when delivered with spirit and gestures.
With a wry smile, he reads from a slim worn paperback
of lively limericks written by seven-year olds.
Can I get a lift with you?
Dog, backpack, briefcase, square satchel pile in.
He laughs when I ask why he carries all that.
Do you come here often? No, transport is a problem.
Some bus drivers won’t allow dogs. I usually walk.
I smell sweat and think about the drought.
While we carry on the evening’s conversation,
he directs me higher and higher up the mountain,
past moneyed mansions in Higgovale,
until we reach the furthest house line. Here is fine.
After I turn around to head down,
he waves at the edge of the road
away from the upscale doorways.

It is then I think of the homeless
who shelter in the quarry.

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