Sam Pereira
The Blue Scent Of Juniper
- for Susan


Wisteria were called for here. He knew that. He crawled
And spat into a sink and shaved. He doubted the Church
On a daily basis and he drank until his skin gave
Off the blue scent of juniper and ice. She took form
Over years: a slow shadow enveloping the evenings.
He had thought about her ultimatums; their history
And pomp. She had saved his life and it wasn’t that
At all. Cars raced underneath his building. Kids screamed over
Whatever this particular morning’s good game happened to be.
She’d washed his soul with tears. He’d dried her
With the tail of a dark shirt, taking it off in one quick stroke.
It was Friday. He remembered getting lost
On a bus for her. She laughed and cringed, knowing
More would be expected later. He accepted, though.
It was the most important acceptance in his witless career.
Roses were called for then. The most magnificent the streets offered.
These gifts were small. He knew that. Dropped into the water glass
Of a better than average hotel, things took on a kind of silver glint, unseen
On either coast for decades. He knew that and he shook. With each year,
The flowers changed. Lately, the sun had taken on the color
Of dandelions floating on his imagined lake. While this image jostled,
Reflected next to a gathering of ducks and a crushed paper cup,
He remembered that everything floats for moments. He remembered
The chocolate rhythms of breathing in winter. He remembered a book and
The two people in it and how the man had the good sense to die.
Ice-carved peonies would do well here, placed strategically,
On top of his chest where, he’d once blurted out in all certainty, no
One would ever rest their head but her. Peonies should be remembered
Like birthdays. Some said he smiled and waved one time and was gone.

Ethics


When you were 7, you gave
A neighbor dog a piece of hamburger and
He bit you. You should have known

The forboding juices of ground
Chuck could lead to wounds, but instead,
You, or in this case, your parents,

Had those wounds sewn up. Always a mistake:
Life was about blood; dogs; a snarl
Uncovered in the morning that no one gave

2 cents for. If they did, they would
Certainly come away with change. A woman
Gets a grip on a job: years

Of dragging stories out from the clutter
Of hallowed rooms. She's proud. You like her
In an instant: Good mind; fine ideas about sex.

Her husband is someone the world counts on. He
Tells truths; he smiles before he speaks. Honestly,
You seem to remember only the dog tonight.

It bit your knee, making a statement. It marked you in ways
Dogs usually are not given to. You were 7 and
The dog was 4. Together the numbers formed a perfect shadow.

You'd be 52 this coming April, give or take
A year. It's important everyone knows the joys of living
In America and that they are based on America's dogs.