Still Life With Dog In The Yard

by Joe Dahut

The throat chaps from an easterly pumping harder now.
A march of ants parade around the kettle in one straight line

but for a subtle curve in the middle like some green hill
in the country somewhere. I wring out a tea bag

from this morning over a tea cup from yesterday. What I learn
about neglect I learn with my hands. The storm pushes in; dog digs deep

beneath the fig tree. Words phosphoresce from my lips, which
up to this point have been sautered shut and pinned

inside my mouth. It’s a wonder anything grows in this garden anymore,
a new pock on the root from his pawing pops up. When I wake

in the dark of each morning, breeze still blowing, I chance each step –
guessing if my foot will fall in the holes. For the record, I never welcomed ants

into the kitchen, but they seem to be at home here. I wrote a list
of all the things I own and found a page of mistakes.

Joe Dahut is a poet, essayist, and educator living and writing in the Florida Keys. He earned his MFA in Poetry from New York University, where he taught creative writing. Joe’s poetry and prose can be read in The Shore, Saw Palm, The Drake, The FlyFish Journal, Clade Song, and Little Patuxent Review, among others.