The Moral of the Story

        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.