Dana Wildsmith is my new favorite poet. She grew up in the same hot, humid area of south Georgia where I lived. I like the following poem, Peopleing, which Dana gave me permisssion to post on our blog.
Our border collie Max, I say, would be a bow-tie guy,
a grey slacks with cuffs kind of guy,
his solid-color long-sleeved shirts always lightly starched.
For casual, he’d keep pressed khakis on wooden hangers
and white golf shirts with left-sleeve monogram.
Fred the red hound would live in faded 501’s
and Carhartts, Dixie Outfitter shirts, and ball caps
promo-ing beer and football and backhoes.
We’re sure Max is a Whiskey-Palian,
20-year deacon, high church, early Mass.
Fred’s kin have been Baptists, by God,
since time began on Sunday, October 23rd, 4004 B.C.
Sndays after church, Fred eats Mama’s fried chicken
and watches the game. Max does the buffet at the Club,
drives his white Volvo home and now politely corrects us,
“You have me all wrong, you know.”
But he won’t say how.
Fred’s F-150’s spinning gravel out front
and he yells he’ll catch us later--
gotta get that squirrel before it makes it to a tree.
So we sit on the porch with Molly,
the damaged black Lab. She was a preacher’s kid,
never heard a cuss word till high school,
believed in the goodness of man
until one man beat that guilelessness out of her.
Now Molly slips around the edges of her days
not looking at the world so the world won’t exist.
But even Molly’s pleased when Barney, the old beagle,
comes bowlegging over to find out what’s new with us.
He’s got time to palaver, now he’s retired from the mill.
He hitches his overalls at the knees
and eases to a rocker, informing us that
whoo, lordy—it’s going to be a hot one today.
Later this evening he’ll have his coffee
at Waffle House with Roscoe and Willie,
and he’ll tell the other dogs how he talked to me earlier
and don’t they think I’d be an Irish Setter?
Not a prissy bred-for-show, mind you,
but one of those country Setters, always up for a walk….