Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, April 13, 2014


by Tyler Kline

The curve of the path straightens out
then bends back like an anxious tail –
ahead,              man and woman are walked by dog.

The pink, wet pelt of his tongue
arched outward, slurping air
joined by a pallor of white teeth.
Again, I begin wishing –

the wish that tells my shrink more than descriptions can –

for someone to please
just throw me a gnarled branch to retrieve

or spill a little beer at a campsite and let me lick it off leaves –

then praise me after I’ve run planes to LaGuardia and back
and end the day by bringing in broken creatures with jaws lined red.

Before the sun stretches back, my canine spirit-journey comes full circle –
while Rangers perform their rounds
the couple opens their car doors
in jumps dog – with a belly full of creek water
and insects crushed under paws – stealing shotgun

and resting his head out the window like a spent comma.

Before I get home, making sure no cars are in sight,
I try too –
balancing my head out with one eye to the road
and the other left free to wander –

spread my face wide and think,          maybe I’ve found the secret,
but the moment stops as quickly as it began:

a fork in the road springs up
and I duck back in to steady the wheel.

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