At The Rescue Dog Pick-Up
The people lined up at the Park & Ride
come in all shapes and flavors: the beauty
with “Choose Me” in sequins across her top
behind the muscle man in wife-beater and Sox cap,
the family of four speaking Farsi,
the two women holding leashes, the child
on his father’s shoulders waving a chew toy.
The van sits at one end of the lot
and we’re lined up outside like children
to see Santa, or fathers waiting for the newborns
to be brought out. We’re here
to pick up dogs we’ve only seen online;
dogs we’ve never met. It’s tempting
to match owners with their breeds:
lab puppies for the kids, pit bull
for the tough guy, lap dogs for the couple
but it’s only to pass the time.
Finally a man with a soft Kentucky accent
tells us to state our names.
even though I don’t know these people
I find myself applauding with everyone else
and when our Mandy finally emerges
like a shy ingenue besieged by paparazzi—
she’s been in a dark van for 20 hours,
she’s a little shaky—my step-son
bends down to stroke her head
and as she closes her eyes
and leans up against him
perhaps because I am childless
somehow I am that stray
transported by strangers to another state
and welcomed into their family
as if they are the governor
and I am reprieved
Donald Nitchie lives in Chilmark. His poetry chapbook “Driving Lessons” was published in 2008 from Pudding House.
The Martha’s Vineyard Times welcomes contributions to Poet’s Corner. Dan Waters, former poet laureate of West Tisbury, will select poems to be published here. Submissions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.