There’s Baxter, our neighbor’s harmless little dog,
before a storm door window, contented as a cat.
We’re in a row house and share a front area. One day
this summer we were headed out just as our neighbor
and his pet were coming back from a pee jaunt. Much barking
before our neighbor calmly said,
“Let them live, Baxter.”

And there’s our maple, now in winter
stark as any other tree, when only months ago
it tried to dominate the block with color
and, as far as I’m concerned, succeeded.

Now let’s bring in snow
there on limbs and branches, speaking up
as streetlights come on. Does that do
the trick? The idea is for the poem
to be as good as a pot- au- feu, where, to my taste,
after all those cuts of meat, plus marrow bones,
plus vegetables pulled from the earth,
the trick is done by cloves.

Copyright © 2019 David Curry. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Winter 2019.