As a Chesapeake Bay retriever
the instinct to fetch is
built in for Scamper.
She sniffs out a March-weathered stick from
the corn-snow and drops it at my feet
I reach for it
she pounces, beats me to the stick
shakes her head back and forth
like a lion tearing meat from a gazelle
on the Serengeti.
I grab the stick "C'mon, Scamper, let go!"
tug-tug-tug, her teeth dig deeper into the stick
leaving gashes permanently etched in the winter-aged wood.
I reason out loud
"Scamper, if you'd just let go, you'd have more fun."
my words catch the sharp March wind, hit me in the face
"If you'd just let go, you'd have more fun."
My tugs at raising an adolescent
make gashes in my middle-aged soul
weathered by clouds of words that swirl past young ears
make gashes in green ideals of a young man doing it his way.
I tug at Eric to face his fears of people
to face his black-hole anxiety that sends him
under the quilt on the couch for weeks at a time
the harder I tug, the deeper he sleeps.
What if "I just let go?"
of his unwanted obsessions about AIDS
and the aura of "something bad might happen."
Unwanted thoughts gather like a cyclone
we hang onto the stick of sanity and tug
to make sense of checking and re-checking
washing over and over and making sure
making sure one more time.
"If you'd just let go, you'd have more fun"
Scamper backs off
I toss the stick with the wind
she bounces out on the ice following her