Poppy's Road


Poppy’s Road


Since the fireworks of the Fourth Of July, I haven’t been reading

Been watching too much reality TV

Drinking too much, writing too little

I haven’t been feeling myself

But I can find myself sane

Walking the road with my dog, Poppy

After the ceremony of her wiggling into the harness clipped with a name tag and leash

Through the kitchen door like a magical wish

We check both directions at the end of the driveway and cross the road as it sparkles like a broken string of pearls beneath our feet

These old shoes are jumping new with her graham cracker paws, chocolate fur, and marshmallow heart walking into the afternoon sun

The shade of the neighboring weeping willows and maples keeps us from melting

We don’t have a particular route or a place to go, only back home at some point for thirst, hunger, or shelter

We are just walking

Up and down hills

The way it should be

It’s necessary

I don’t close my eyes

She’s a hunting dog, and we don’t hunt,

She needs what we all do, a little work, exercise, and fun

And we do this for the beauty of it

We don’t see it from a corporate tower

We see it on the ground

Walking, her tail wagging, the nails of her paws are clicking piano keys

A melody carries this slice of time away

With this, I’ve learned how to walk and to keep walking

No one in front of us but hopefully, someday, behind,

Someone who might learn how to walk Poppy’s road

Mitchell Flanagan

Mitchell Flanagan is an artist, writer, and musician from Newburgh, New York. His poems appeared in The Chronogram in August 2010 and December 2011. His work appeared in Ariel Chart in April 2020 and April and December 2021. In addition, he's working on a collection of short stories, novels, and poetry books. His band is Cold Heaven.


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