Minutes before your mahogany eyes floated closed,
I was trying to explain to you the difference
between climate and weather using a metaphor
I learned watching Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Cosmos:
A man is walking his dog on a beach,
maintaining a consistent trajectory
keeping that skittish old hound—Weather--
from yanking his leash too far off course.
You managed a polite grin
before succumbing to this unfinished
soporific. No story with a dog and beach can fail
to induce pleasurable slumber in a six year old.
I then walked downstairs
for my journal and pen, a book,
and back up out onto the deck thinking
about you making faces at me that afternoon
through the backseat window of our Honda
as I squeezed in $27.48 of eighty-seven octane
that will vaporize into the atmosphere.
I thought about garbage
in a ninety-five gallon container
next to the shed carted God knows where
each Friday morning; about the fuel oil
tank behind our house due for a topping off
so we can spend another bone-snapping
winter in a toasty living room; about the stoic
air conditioner poking out the wall
above the T.V.; about the public transit
paucity compelling me every morning
to become just another selfish motorist;
about the milk purloined from malnourished cows
weaned on genetically modified corn.
I imagined that dog again, now gnawing
at the leash, glutted on industrial kibble,
barefoot man pursuing him into the street,
dodging oncoming traffic for a decade,
maybe two, before losing grip,
watching his mutt foam and fang
into the distance to reclaim genesis.
But I couldn't bring that to your bedside,
nor could I stitch a fairy tale
to it with complicity's needle,
posterity's thread. Such was my dilemma
as I shuffled off to bed.
Next night, a new tale,
grin receded as if joined
by string to your eyelids.
Getting up to click the light switch,
you assured me everything
was going to be all right,
that if given the chance, you would
provide a better beach for Weather.
Ted Millar teaches English at Mahopac High School, and creative writing and poetry at Marist College. His poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, tiny poetry: Macropoetics, Scintilla, GFT Press, Inklette, The Grief Diaries, Cactus Heart, Aji, Wordpool Press, Chronogram, Brickplight, and Inkwell. In addition to writing poetry, he is also a frequent contributor to Liberal America, Liberal Nation Rising and SEIU Faculty Foward. He lives in the heart of apple and wine country in New York's Hudson Valley with his wife and two children.