A woman is walking a word that’s ½ a poodle
near this cursive gate where you’re standing & reading
“A woman is walking a word that’s ½ a poodle,”
that’s an –ism, that’s an act, state, process,
doctrine, theory or cult, past my name,
past the TOBACCO shop, the FRUIT shoppe
with bananas like hands on an American flag
& serrated watermelon; she passes the Happy Face
& many other pedestrians; past the little church
with the black and white tiled rhyme
then the carefully mown slogans that are golf courses:
Just Do It, Milk, It Does a Body Good,
the open air market where oranges and pears
are stacked as semi-colons &
past the sentence in block letters that endlessly cir-
culates as the air conditioning for buildings B thru D.
A woman is walking a word that’s ½ a poodle.
A felt green gentleman at a pencil-d in café table, chair, ob-
serves that the same woman passes with the same dog
every 5 seconds or it’s 3 blue and white W’s in a row
made of gel and foam, then 3 lower case b’s.
She’s out buying a bayonet of bread.
Above, in the yellow sky, a phrase drifts.
At the third word of this poem,
right in front of my house the stanza,
the dog writes a single letter “s,” an anus fruit,
a pasty cookie, on the sidewalk: PLEASE CURB YOUR DOGs
I am just a scribble. Between the woman and the dog
there’s a gap of 3 typed spaces in which she controls him
with the leash of spelling,
mis-. Madeleine knows there’s a snake of consciousness
hibernating under the ground, a cemetery for shapes,
blobs, blots, objects without names,
and so the gap widens & it’s here that the dog flees,
landscape in the distant corner of the gap
and a dragon.

From Fall Foliage Called Bathers and Dancers (Backwaters, 2008). Copyright © 2008 Alexandria Peary. Used with permission of the author.