A Great Divide

There was some connection between her and him
and an eccentric brother on one side or the other.
Unimportant, except as an excuse
when he took me along to say hello.

I’ve been his “ever-faithful” since before I could bark,
hunting, fishing, hiking, or just staring
at sand, and sagebrush and sunsets in summer,
it’s been me and him. Inseparable bachelors.

There’s a smell to humans and their feelings
as clear and unmistakable as any spoor
and it changes quite reliably with their smiles,
frowns, shouted curses, and quiet desires.
While I may not say much, I know more about them
than they know about themselves.

I heard his tone as he talked to her,
(though I couldn’t know what he was saying)
the timbre of his voice, all rejection.
But the scent that blew toward me contradicted that,
swirling bursts of loneliness, discontent, desire.
Gave me something to think about,
as far as hound dogs think on anything.

What made it more interesting, from my silent
observation point between them, was the woman.
Shoulders mostly turned away, focused on the rope
where she was hanging fresh-washed jeans without a word.
Not that talk was needed, because the shifting breeze
nearly suffocated me with her pungent longing
that snagged on, and nearly stopped at,
the clothesline dividing their worlds.

Me? I wish they could hear what I smell.

In response to “Where the West Begins” by Laura Kaminski.

our name is mike

don’t worry about birth names
birthplaces or ethnic oddities
our name is mike, like it says
right above the pocket
in red embroidery on a white patch

our name is mike
so you know what to expect here
the hand and nail grime
is all you need to see
to know we take our work
as seriously as you take latte
maybe more, who knows

our name is mike
proudly displayed in the frame
on a certificate earned
five years ago. maybe ten
to let you know we took the class
put on by the people who made
whatever it is you’re driving

our name is mike
and if the problem is under the hood
it doesn’t really matter what make
what year, how many litres large
we will know how to cure it
if there’s time, we’ll also try
to explain it in simple terms
but there’s no easy translation
for things like torque converters
solonoids, catalytics, and flywheels

our name is mike
trust us. we are mechanics
of the first degree

In response to “What’s In a Name” by Laura Kaminski.