Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 4
Fall 2011

[Two Poems]

Ron Salisbury

A Walk With Chet

Sometimes Chet gets home from work real late.
I’ve been on guard duty all day, keeping people out,
watching the crows through the window. They know
I’m here and stay off the balcony. Chet’s key rattles
in the lock, fumbles, things drop and I know he’s bushed
or really upset. Anyway, these are the Bourbon nights
except sometimes the bottle’s empty and we get
a late night walk to the store. Maybe a roasted chicken,
blue cheese and olives too. I can smell all this
in the bag. We’re walking home, down the stairs
to the street and there’s this woman in front.
I mean, right in front, all those bare legs 
and the smell, it was wonderful, something flower like
and musty, reminded me of the little Shepherd
a while ago. I just couldn’t help myself, I had 
to get closer, put my nose right on her leg,
just below that short skirt. She screams
and falls into the bushes. Those shoes didn’t look
too stable if you ask me. Then the guy with her says
something and shoves Chet, something you really
don’t want to do. So Chet’s stuffing this guy
into a garbage can, yelling right into his face
and the woman falls into the bushes again.
Am I barking? This is so great. We pick up
the chicken and cheese and get out of there,
take a different walk home. So much fun!
I’m hopping along on the leash, smelling
all the great things. I just love these walks
with Chet.



I have this problem with gray cars, Chet says they’re gray.  
Got me. Something about them, especially the small ones,
whirling hubcaps. Something just snaps. I know 
I could catch one if Chet would let me off the leash.  
And the busses, Big Busses. The roaring sound 
makes me crazy, the big twirling tires and the smell, 
that weird smell, like a bad wet fire, like Bar-B-Q 
coals, dirt and fire. I know I could get one. I know
I could get one. It takes me a while to calm down.

If Chet gets a good paycheck we go to Dempseys 
for ribs, out on the patio where you can usually find 
an old french fry under the bench, a heater thing
for when it’s cold and a double order for Chet and me, 
I get the bones. I don’t know how he does it 
but Sally’s always our waitress, brings me a water bowl. 
She makes Chet nervous, leans in real close 
and there’s lots of bare skin even when it’s cold.
Chet holds his belly in when he talks to her, 
says weird things, giggles when Sally leans over, 
the only time I’ve ever heard Chet giggle.
Humans do the strangest things. Sally’s nice, smells nice 
but there’s just something scary. Maybe it’s the snake 
on her arm, black and green, red open mouth, gold eyes.
I used to think it was real, but how could that be? A snake
on her arm? And she has a crow on her leg, just above her knee.
A CROW. What does that mean? Maybe that’s why she’s scary,
the long black hair and the ring in the side of her nose,
and all that skin. But somehow she’s always our waitress 
when we go to Dempseys. I think Sally’s like what Chet
say’s about those busses—what would I do with it
if I caught one?


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury