Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
The Phoenix Issue, No. 16, Winter 2008
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TOM HAUSHALTER

The Staring Hours

Your attention to them undivided—nine newborn
retrievers blindly vying for anything along

their mother’s manifold chest—I’m not surprised
the tenth of them, the godless one, was satisfied

aloft the pads of your palms, below your nose,
making uncontested, fruitless attempts at the softer

skin of your chin. That night in that state
you may as well have died clutching misery

like a ball of unrisen dough. Suppose I turned
around now, tracked the scent back to the address

where others have bartered incautiously
for a drink; suppose you were still to be

found sunk in that rundown lawn chair,
nightgowned in the cracked-open garage,

bereft of a reason to finally get to your feet
and come inside—would you leave my hand

untaken? This is where you say something.