B. P. Greenbaum, “Morning in the Woods”

Barbara Greenbaum’s work has been published or is forthcoming in American Writer’s Review, The Cape Rock, Crack The Spine, The Prick of the Spindle, and The Massachusetts Review, among others. Barbara has a B.A. in English from the University of Hartford, and an M.F.A. from the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast. She retired from her career as a creative writing teacher at a public magnet arts high school in Willimantic, CT. In addition to writing, she is a volunteer at The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. She writes using the pen name B. P. Greenbaum.

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Morning in the Woods

On our walk, I pace the dog
or we pace each other, our steps a bit
slower than last spring.

Her face is almost entirely white,
a snowy replacement for the caramel
she once wore. The fat tumor rides high
on her back.

We step over rocks we cannot see,
our ankles pivoting
as we navigate forward.

She smells everything.
I’m transfixed by shafts of light
warming the woods, littered
and golden with autumn,
leaf molds, and old rain.

My voice ricochets off rocks,
evaporates in the carpeted path of moss,
sending her frantically searching
the wrong way. I have to run then,
get in front of her, let her see me,
before she’ll lose the panic
in her eyes.

Toward the end of the trail,
we let the other walkers go ahead of us.
A hustling couple in their thirties, their mutts
dressed in plaid jackets bouncing ahead.

Quickly, she gives up trying to catch them,
her collection of dog tags jingling
on her collar, as she comes back to me,
her stump of a tail
pointing straight to heaven.




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