Barbara Johnson – Sheepdung Estates Poopy Poem

Barbara Johnson

Sheepdung Estates Poopy Poem

The wind exhaled, and
two oak leaves skipped over each other
trying to get my attention
dancing uphill

The woodpecker didn’t give audacious dancing leaves
what I gave them
my glancing admiration
He ignored them and continued knocking
on the door to the tree
politely and then less so
annoyed and demanding breakfast
the way I
and my carefully chosen companions
demand fried potatoes
with green bell peppers
and a quality cup of coffee
on Valencia Street San Francisco
Saturday morning
Excuse me, miss
Do you have
soy milk for my coffee?
I’m lactose intolerant

Fat flies also paid boastful leaves no mind
They too were looking for breakfast
Loitering, awaiting handouts
messy and unshowered
no Street Sheets for sale just
give me a quarter if you’ve got one handy
a dollar would be even better
and did you really,
and are we to understand correctly
that you just this morning
picked up your dog’s shit
in a plastic bag?
And threw that bag of shit away?
You really didn’t need to do that
We would prefer you didn’t
We are, after all,

The dog didn’t notice any performing leaves
On City-furlough, he was a nose
followed by tangled fur and enough muscle to carry him along
a thousand channels to quivering brain
tail electric and all alight
surely a jackrabbit, sweet smelling of brown earthy fur
on this ground just a short time ago
and a fox squirrel, maybe, which
I could find and conquer with jaws and teeth
if given half a chance
And furthermore, some mule deer have been browsing around here lately
or I’m much mistaken

The wind paused for breath halfway up the hill
The leaves, with no audience,
lay down sullenly
and returned to quietude
Brown, dry oak leaves
Six months at least
since they stopped their own breathing,
let go of the branch
that fed them
And what, indeed, but a dead thing—
two dead things—
long since given up
all need for breakfast
Who but creatures such as these leaves
could have the impudence
to dance
at no other prompting than the wind’s?
We are, all the rest of us,
too hungry to be audacious

return to SHAMPOO 12