Poem by Scott Davidson

December 15, 2023

Return of the Three-Legged Dog

Spare me the sermons on the oneness of life.
The man who’s become a cartoon of himself
slumps against the wall of McDonald’s

dangling a dogless leash from his hand. What
comes next is nearly predictable—wide-open
carton of fast-food eggs flipped up to fall

like all that is squandered. When does sun
become a blindness? When does spurned become
accursed? Eggs, or whatever version these were,

persist in steaming right where they landed.
Given the chance to choose his reaction, he takes
it out on brand-new bus riders spilling to the sidewalk,

calling for ludicrous, fabricated punishments. All
it would take to change the lives of everyone here
is the cartoon man looking down at his hands—

moving on their own—acknowledging the song
from deep in the crowd. He’d call for his dog to stand
at his side, call for musicians to pour from doorways

sure and resolved for the first time in years.
These are the reasons for musical comedy.
This is the morning that hovers on the verge.

About Scott Davidson

Scott Davidson grew up in Montana, worked as a Poet in the Schools and—after most of two decades in Seattle—lives with his wife in Missoula. His poems have appeared in Southwest Review, Terrain.org, Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing, and the Permanent Press anthology Crossing the River: Poets of the Western United States.

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