Poets Corner: At The Rescue Dog Pick-Up


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.

When he comes out with each dog on a leash

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

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 dan@indianhillpress.com.