R O N A L D B A A T Z
My Prize Possession
The skull of a dog hangs over the fireplace.
On the mantlepiece there is a deck of cards,
not used in over half a year, at least.
Nothing else hangs on the walls.
There is almost no furniture to speak of.
In the kitchen cabinets a few dishes reside,
along with cans of beans and a bottle containing
the last of the olive oil I cannot afford to replace.
In the bedroom upstairs, where I sleep, there is a futon.
In the spare bedroom on the other side of the hallway
there is nothing but long, thin roots hanging on the wall,
that are entangled and twisting on the wall like a wreath.
I found these sacred roots in the stream, nearby
the motel where I was living and working. To say
that I like to keep things simple is no big revelation.
Simplicity is easy in such a large house, where ponies
were once raised in the barn out back. The pony shoes
I come across in the garden I hang in the woodshed.
From a great apple tree, that is in dire need of pruning,
blossoms fall and cover the roof of this woodshed. But,
yes, there are so many rooms, my god, certainly too many
for one person. It is rare that a visitor does not show envy.
I moved in with a woman, but the relationship changed
and the change left me alone and responsible for these rooms.
I cherish the skull of the dog. It is a prize possession.
I ask it no questions, and it shows me the same courtesy.
I'll keep it with me as I grow old. It will be the best of company.
I admire the teeth it has left.
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