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Don Bouchard Feb 28
The groomed dog lies
Clean upon my sofa,
Resting,
His reward.

Resisted he
The urge to flee
Or bite the handler
While the groomer
Plied over the sopping ****,
Clipped the carpet-ripping nails,
Coiffed and primped him
Head to tail.

Waking,
He nuzzles me
With a brown-eyed stare,
Sidling close to my old brown chair.

This canine friend,
Just a dog in mien,
Communicates his needs,
Comforts me in loneliness,
Amuses me with dog-face grin,
Reads and responds
To the state that I'm in.
Dogs, if not human, are in many ways better than humans.
  Feb 28 Don Bouchard
CK Baker
fifteen years through adolescence
fifteen years to build a man
fifteen years to raise a family
another to know who (i) am

fifteen years to pad the coffers
fifteen years to tinker, and rest
fifteen years to reflect on the moments
before the Sunday best
Don Bouchard Feb 25
Received a letter via
Our snow-covered mail box
Just a hundred steps from my front door.

Rather than the quick work of electrons,
My mother's friend
Had carefully penned
Her thoughts.

Two tight pages
In black ink:
Questions about life,
The kids and grand kids,
Whether we were getting rest,
And how was the snow?

Paper and ink
Envelope tucked,
Cancelled stamp,
Delivered after a thousand mile ride,
Lies on my desk,
Proof of my mother's love.

Mainly, she was concerned
That we were finding time to live,

And were we still thinking about her?
Write your Mother.
Don Bouchard Feb 13
It's June, 1967.
Nature, still lying through
Parsley green teeth,
Breathes the last of spring,
Hints early summer warmth,
Pre-July's cicada whine,
August's heat and wind.

Crops, still tender green
Quiver beneath a humid sky,
Under a glowing sun.

Bicycles amuse our early ****
To soar untraveled ground,
Entering lazy summer's ennui,
We scan a hawk riding drafts
On the edge of our hill.

Dust, drifting up the graveled road,
Five miles below us,
Piques our interest,
Causes the dog to raise his head.
He ***** an ear
Toward a sound we cannot hear.

We hear gravel slapping rocker panels
Before the traveler's roof rises into view,
Catch our breath as the engine slows,
Start running for the house.

A stranger's arrived,
A traveling salesman,
Better than an aunt
Only stopping in for tea
And woman talk.

Dad keeps his welding helmet down,
Repairing broken things.
The hired man inhales his cigarette,
Acts disinterested.

My memories linger on the past....

Salesmen brought the latest farming gadgets:
Additives for fuel and oil,
Battery life extenders,
Grain elevators and fencing tools,
Produce and livestock products,
Lightning rods and roofing,
Chrome-edged cultivator shovels,
Insurance for everything:
Fire, water, wind, hail.

Pitches came without exception:

"Top o' the morning! Looks like you're busy.
Don't want to take your time."

"Looks like you could use some welding rod,
And I have something new for you to try."

"Have you used chromium additive in you livestock salt?
Guaranteed to put on weight and protect from bovine
Tuberculosis!"

"Say, have you heard about the effectiveness of a new
Insecticide called DDT? I've got a sample gallon here
For you to try. Works better than Malathion!"

Dad, eventually intrigued, began the slow dance
Of dickering, haggling over this thing or that.
Most salesmen, closing in for a ****,
Hadn't grappled with my father.

At noon, deals still in the air,
My mother called the men,
And we all trudged in to wash,
Waiting in line at the tub,
Scrubbing with powdered Tide
To remove the grime and grease,
Drying on the darkening towel,
Finding a seat at the table.

The salesmen expected the meal
As though it were their right,
A standing invitation:
Stop in at noon,
Make your pitch,
Sit at table,
Close the deal after.

We boys sat and listened
To man talk.
Eyes wide, we marveled
At gadgets,
Wondered at Dad's parleying,
Winced at the deals he drove,
Commiserated with squirming salesmen
Surely made destitute by Dad's hard bargaining.

In retrospect,
I know the game was played
On two sides,
That the battery additives
Bought for five dollars a packet,
Even with the two Dad finagled free,
Cost about five dollars for everything,
Returned forty-five and change
To the smirking, full-bellied salesman
Who left a cloud of dust on his way
To supper a few miles down the road.
We don't see traveling salesmen anymore at the ranches in Montana. I guess internet sales did them in.
Don Bouchard Dec 2018
I came exhausted
Out of the blistering gray,
Lungs choking dust,
Tongue parched,
Body swollen with heat.

Your cool gardens saved me.
Basked I in the tender greens of spring;
Nurtured, I lingered in the shade all summer;
Warmed, I stayed near your embers in autumn.
I would not leave the blazing logs in winter.

Dry and desperate my early plight.
Parched and stumbling,
Clogged by dust,
I found your water;
Drank and bathed,
Found solace in body and mind,
Found time to rest, to heal.

I wonder at the restlessness
Howling outside your gates.
SturmundDrang, Struggle, Angst, Sin, Salvation, Pain, Peace, Lost, Found
Don Bouchard Dec 2018
Bryce impressed me with its "hoodoos,"
And we stood on a trail in the heated air,
Wondering how far
To venture into the depths below.

Zion's slotted canyon walls towered over us,
Cooled us in their shade,
Marveled us with seeping rocks,
Clinging lichens, plants in flower,
Tendrils hanging on the wet stone.
We left before a storm.

"Grand" is too quiet, too sparse, too short.
I stood on the precipice,
Miles and miles and miles in view,
Reds and tans and whites,
Clouds hanging virga.
My tears signaled gasping awe.
Don Bouchard Dec 2018
A woman dressed in black,
Shadow-hidden,
Deep woods at her back....

I caught her image
In the yellow headlights
Just for an instant.

My wheels rolled by
While my imagination
Slid to a stop with her.

Why was she there
On a lonely road
In freezing rain and cold?

A mile up the road I slowed,
Turned around to answer
Nagging questions.

At the point where she had stood
Remained a half burned stump
Five feet tall, a broken scar face-high.

I smiled at my imagination...
Nearly stumbled on a shoe:
Black, high heel sunk to the hilt.
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