In May, in a town in northeastern Iowa, on a street
where oak and maple were reacquiring their canopies,
you had let the dog in. Had begun toweling the animal.
Its brindled back-fur beaded in places. Bronze colored.
An almost-beautiful trajectory of droplets flew outward
as you held up the handtowel-shield to avoid getting wet.
It was never clear when you had begun to cry. It seemed
you’d been crying for a time before either of us noticed.
Inside sliding-glass doors, the downpour outside voiced.
A spring rain has a sort of voice when waves of resonant
drumming make the air buzz with a missive that nothing
is fixed in the sleepy constituencies along the Mississippi
where workplace hypocrisy hovers always at floodstage.
Some dawns in the Midwest gild a sea of lawn furniture
and Weber grills and blossoms as if sudden termination
belongs universally to the light of places other than here.
Some afternoons the pulled threads of the towel unravel,
part of the wider paradigm of what unstitches around us.
I guess you were yet too young to know which of your
earned grievances with the world was correct or might
transubstantiate a little noncommittal smile for show.