Finishing the Walk

(or Sunday in the Park with Hoagie)

Leaves cover the path,
their crisp crunch gone,
softened by rain
and a little snow,
now vanished.

The dog dawdles,
ordinarily.
I walk ahead too fast,
must double back,
over and over.

He greets his fellows,
salutes the ladies,
receives caresses,
scratches until he
loses his balance.

Sometimes they ask
his breed, his age.
I pull out an ear bud,
to answer, half-listening
to k.d. lang or NPR.

But another half
drifts further,
looks farther ahead,
not to leaves
but to leaving.

Men on bikes fly by;
maneuver evasively.
I am limber.
(Sometimes I skip,
when no one is looking.)

A lovely dog will not
stop making friends,
but they let me be.
I am wistful, wishful,
warm and willing.

We make the turn,
complete the circle
and cross the bridge.
Nose against my pocket,
he seeks a cookie.

His every day! a dog
likes it to be the same.
I give it to him,
even when I’m changed,
finishing the walk.

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