He’s my little dog, Papi. He sits next to the table and begs. He knows how to soften hearts so some will slip a bite beneath the table. Anyone with a pet knows how they manage you. Papi is a con man. He remains stock-still, statuesque, like the Sphinx in Egypt. He stares at you with those big, brown soulful, hungry eyes. Unblinking, he hypnotizes. His concentration peaks. He’ll not relax his gaze upon you or your plate. Patient, worshipful, penitent pause. He will do anything to get that one, last chewy bite of steak. “Papi”, Spanish for ‘father’, is a rescue dog from down the hall where his keeper, Ada, has died. He was left alone for one long day before anyone discovered him. A black, seven-year-old wire-hair , Rat Terrier-Chuhuahua mix, he is highly intelligent. Signs of aging there with graying, salt and pepper whiskers. The charming, artful dodger will steal away your food and your heart.
Then suddenly September rain comes down.
The green peas whisper to the thirsty corn:
“New seasons yearn before your silk turns brown.
Some nameless hand will bend you one dark morn!”
From Miller’s Pub, our hero drains his beer.
His dream: to leave this red-clay country life.
But not before the dinner bell will steer
a thirst and hunger back to waiting wife.
“Oh, Maudie, do ya hear the crushing claim
of wind that rushes through our restless stalks?”
Old Maud is deaf; can only feel the train
that shakes and rattles dishes as he talks.
The railroad curves avoiding corn and peas.
The train sweeps, weeping past old Walt’s disease.