If I could teach the dog to tell time
my afternoons would be more relaxed.
She knows that the more-or-less official
walk time is three o’clock
but I have not been able
to get her to look at the kitchen clock
or my watch and understand
that three o’clock does not happen
until the little hand is on the three
(or–even more tricky–where the three
would be if there were numerals
instead of little dots or markers
on the face of the watch)
and the big hand is on twelve–
straight up.

As it is, since she doesn’t really care
what time it is when we head out,
and the sooner the better,
the not-so-subtle hints begin before two:
first the long unblinking stare,
then the paws on the leg
or stretching into the lap,
followed by a quick sprint
to the door and back
in case I haven’t figured out
what she wants,
and that she is ready . . .

Carlton Holte. Born in Minnesota before color TV. Grew up playing under bridges and in cornfields, then gigs as teacher, writer, editor, a few less wordy things. Recently transplanted to New Mexico and introduced to fiery chiles and sunsets. Writes about love, trees, and blue water, and investigates good places to eat.