Garlic, Orchids, A Suicide
by Jim Dolan

    I passed a trellis full of green vine adorned
    In purple blossom, and passed a neighbor's house
    Where the front door was
    Open. Somewhere in there,

    Marinara sauce simmered and sent
    Its garlic breath down the street; a little
    Bit of basil, a little bit of thyme. John,

    Alone since his lover left, in an elegant front
    Room, tends pale pink orchids, and
    Hardy hibiscus, while newscasters blather from
    The blue screen in the corner.

    Passing on, I saw how
    Venus hovered near a shadow cup of crescent
    Moon, how night was in the sky, how gold
    Still clung to the horizon. I walked on, into

    Monday evening, into the week, the month,
    The year. Paloma, the greyhound, pulled her
    leash tight, knowing all the places where the other
    Dogs peed. She had to sniff and study them all. Last

    Night's dream came to mind, idiot voice shouting,
    "Next year you'll be 50! Next year". You and
    ten million others, I think. And now I am

    near the home of the man who shot himself at his
    shop while his wife and four children slept, and
    I recall how his dog attacked mine one night,
    a blur out of the dark as we walked home,
    my head in the stars. The man ran out, grabbed

    his dog by the collar, punched it's snout, made
    quick embarrassed eye contact, muttered "Sorry"
    and disappeared in the yard. Paloma was shaken,
    and to this day will not walk down that alley, even
    though the dog and his owner are gone. Soon

    I am back in the driveway, I notice the door
    is open, the grill is lit, and she comes to the door
    with that smile on her face and says "How was your
    walk?" and

    cupping the dog's head in my hand
    I say what I always say, which is that of
    course, my walk was fine.

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