Poems and Poetry

Long Red Leash | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

The scruffy old man
and his white poodle
on a long red leash
were neighborhood icons
years ago down at the corner
where children laughed
and petted the dog while
waiting for the school bus.

Every afternoon
when the bus came back
to drop them off
the scruffy old man
and his poodle were there
and the kids would
laugh and take turns
petting the dog again.

Those children grew up
and went away.
The ones who wait
for the school bus today
have never seen
the white poodle
on the long red leash.

They don’t know the dog
got out of its yard one day
when the scruffy old man
didn’t lock his gate.

No wonder the children
find it strange to see
a scruffy old man
bent over and
talking to himself
in a language
they can’t understand
walking a long red leash.

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