Roadside Attractions with the Dogs of America
It's a day when all the dogs of all the borrowed houses are angel footing down the hard hardwood of middle-America's newly loaned-up renovated kitchen floors, and the world's nicest pie I know is somewhere waiting for the right time to offer itself to the wayward and the word-weary. How come the road goes coast to coast and never just dumps us in the water, clean and come clean, like a fish slipped out of the national net of "longing for joy." How come it doesn't? Once, on a road trip through the country, a waitress walked in the train's diner car and swished her non-aproned end and said, "Hot stuff and food too." My family still says it, when the food is hot, and the mood is good inside the open windows. I'd like to wear an apron for you and come over with non-church sanctioned knee-highs and the prettiest pie of birds and ocean water and grief. I'd like to be younger when I do this, like the country before Mr. Meriwether rowed the river and then let the country fill him up till it killed him hard by his own hand. I'd like to be that dog they took with them, large and dark and silent and un-blamable. Or I'd like to be Emily Dickinson's dog, Carlo, and go on loving the rare un-loveable puzzle of woman and human and mind. But, I bet I'm more the house beagle and the howl and the obedient eyes of everyone wanting to make their own kind of America, but still be America, too. The road is long and all the dogs don't care too much about roadside concrete history and postcards of state treasures, they just want their head out the window, and the speeding air to make them feel faster and younger, and newer than all the dogs that went before them, they want to be your only dog, your best-loved dog, for this good dog of today to be the only beast that matters.
Copyright © 2012 by Ada Limón. Used with permission of the author.
Ada Limón is the author of The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Date Published: 2012-08-28
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/roadside-attractions-dogs-america