New Place

PDQ|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I tried a new place last week,
was lonely without you.
Good chicken fingers,
horrible ranch.

You would’ve ordered the steak salad,
extra sauce. I would’ve asked you to
get a side of fries.
We would have jaw-jabbed about
the retro look of the place
while sipping bland tea.

The best thing about it?
It was not the cleanliness,
nor the sizable crowd,
nor the beautiful bathrooms,
nor the fancy fountain drink machine.
It was simply the fact that…

They were playing
our song.

The Walk

An Experiment

Jernee, The Little Monster: Becoming familiar with nature. Photo Credit/Tremaine L. Loadholt

nicknames aren’t what most aspire to.
we’re often saddled with descriptions
that lessen our personality,
but “the little Monster” suits Jernee.
on walks, she sets her eyes
curiously on nature’s green gifts,
sniffing out the elite versus the subpar.
she has a system.
I am watchful, yet patient.
I admire her investigative process, her
obsession with marking her territory.

I give her space to explore
crumbled earth between her toes,
the dust settling on her paws
becomes a lickable treat after two miles.
we break for hydration and deep breaths,
neither of us — as young as we feel.
during Winter, the dew-drenched grass
is slick and tricky but doesn’t trip
the quick pace of a four-legged athlete.
she glides through the sea of green
without stopping.

life is less difficult with her around.
the walks we take, they are glue
for pieces of me prone to breaking and
in need of constant repair.
she senses my love for them, for her.
in every step, I witness a pet
who is confident in her role as
caregiver, as companion.

I don’t have to be anyone else.
she gives me space to adapt
whenever adaptation is necessary.
I favor the weekend morning walk.
we stroll and strut and spend
our time wisely.
just us, the wind, God, and the clouds…

and the knowledge of a connection
between a woman and her dog.


My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ©Edith Wharton

This is my eleventh year with Jernee by my side. You may hear people say, “I don’t know who rescued who,” but I do know and I can say without one shadow of doubt, that with her — I am much better. With her, I am alive.

Gloomy

Icy Tree|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

An ice storm passed through here
last week and I thought about you.
About your voice and its eerie sensibility
of staying even when emotions were heightened.
Robotic, you seemed not quite human
in those moments.
Because how many of us can sound as
if we’re happy when our world is
crumbling right before our eyes?
How many of us will keep breathing
without flinching or changing octaves?

I often wondered if you were battery-operated.
If there were actual bells and whistles
probing you to act.
Nothing about our breakups was normal,
but then, no one would really categorize
“breaking up” as normal, especially if
they did not want to.
You were cool as one could ever be.
I never saw you cry.
Not when you failed your driving exam.
Not when you were cut from the
varsity basketball team.
Not when your parents divorced.
Not when your Grandfather died.

“What’s keeping him from falling apart?”
I used to ask myself that question for
a number of years and finally, I stopped.
“He just doesn’t get emotional.
He has one setting, neutral.”

An ice storm passed through here
last week and I thought about you.
I wanted to not feel anything too.