Trouble & East 180 Street

East 180 Street by Austin Canales, 2015 Gold Key, Photography
East 180 Street by Austin Canales, 2015 Gold Key, Photography

Trouble (2015 Gold Key, Poetry)

By Greer Baxter, 11th Grade at The Chapin School

21st and Seventh Avenue
is no place
for a dog.
Too cold too hot
with dirt that smells
a homeless odor.
Howling and skittish.
He was in trouble.
Make that double trouble.
Was he in trouble before the streets
took his innocence?
Yes, dogs have innocence.
The way I define it.
An all-knowing street urchin,
the streets trained Trouble.
No one wanted Trouble.
Few ask for Trouble.
So Trouble ended up
in a euthanasia room at the ACC
until I put the death penalty
on hold.
No pure breed here.
Too long legs for his torso,
snaggle tooth,
wiry hair.
Trouble looked worse for wear.
Weak from brawls
with his brethren.
Weak from the foraging.
No sleep on the street.
Deep, dark droopy eyes.
No pampered soul here.
That is the reason why
he came whirling into the house
like Pigpen.
When he thinks you’re mad
he asks forgiveness
by nuzzling you
and fierce.
When he wants love
he will stare at you
until his eyes tear.
He will sit
like a good boy
and wait
then cry
then howl.
He howls.
He brings his food
kibble by kibble
from the kitchen bowl
into the living room
and hoards
and hides it.
One by one
he crunches
each morsel
showing he is a survivor.
I own Trouble now.
But I still run from Trouble.
until his eyes tear.


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