“When I Rejoiced to See the Infinite in the Reflection of a Dog in a Puddle” (poem) by Bob Rich

The limp head of vicious boredom hangs low,
with cold eyes of ice staring down, down below
As I walk along the shadow-covered sidewalk, late, late at night
Past the shop window with its elegant, thoughtful, abandoned mannequins
Past the garbage bin with its crumpled, discarded treasures
Past the empty restaurant with its once-whirring jukebox
Past the darkened tree with its frozen conductors’ arms
lifted up in soundless passion to stir a symphony of absent birds
And, thank you, dear God — at last! — there at the street corner,
I walk up to a greasy puddle,
with luminous slivers of blue and red swirling slowly over oily black
A dog carefully paws its way up to the puddle’s edge,
warmly looking at the drifting lines of light on the dark and oily waters
And I see the dog’s reflection in the puddle,
with gold lights lit like Christmas ornaments in its memory-filled eyes,
a gentle smile on its calm and ancient face,
its loyal ears softly perking when I toss a flipping, pulsing silver coin
into the puddle’s wet and rippling surface …
And I can walk on toward the streetlight’s crackling, sparking, victoriously yellow lamp
And, no, I am not overcome by the crushing glacial eyes of boredom’s soulless stare.

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