by George Garrett
The Roman Catholic bells of Princeton, New Jersey,
wake me from rousing dreams into a resounding hangover.
Sweet Jesus, my life is hateful to me.
Seven a.m. and time to walk my dog on a leash.
Ice on the sidewalk and in the gutters,
and the wind comes down our one-way street
like a deuce-and-a-half, a six-by, a semi,
huge with a cold load of growls.
There’s not one leaf left to bear witness,
with twitch and scuttle, rattle and rasp,
against the blatant roaring of the wrongway wind.
Only my nose running and my face frozen
into a kind of a grin which has nothing to do
with the ice and the wind or death and December,
but joy pure and simple when my black and tan puppy,
for the first time ever, lifts his hind leg to pee.
“Or Death and December” by George Garrett, from Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments. Copyright © 1998 Louisiana State University Press. Reprinted with permission.