Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Walking my Dog in Logan Park after Mary Tyler Moore’s Death

by Jan Zlotnik Schmidt


The phone dings in my pocket
as I clutch the leash,
the dog pulling to reach another pup.
Ding again—Mary Tyler Moore dead at 80.

I stop for a moment to read my phone.
Watch a homeless man toss white
scraps of bread to black squirrels
darting this way and that.

The news of her death meshes with
other headlines --Breitbart, the refugee ban,
executive orders, the XL Pipeline—
Doublespeak, lies burning my throat, my gullet.

I protested after Kent State
Sat in against Dow Chemical
Marched against the war in Iraq.
It is that time again.

But Mary and I lived a different world.
Back then, I raced home to watch
 (no DVR dreams deferred for us)
to catch her cool intelligence, independent spirit.

Sometimes my friend and I would go
to Sibleys, try on wigs like alter egos—
I always picked a brown flip with bangs
to cover up my frizzy long hair.

And in the snow in Syracuse
we tossed hats in the air
sure our bodies were ours to control.
Sure we could light up the world with our smiles.

The dog yanks me out of my reverie.
We circle the square again.
Vermont, 13th Street, Rhode Island,
Logan’s statue, his horse, hovering above us.

In the drizzle and fog, I momentarily lose
my way despite knowing the familiar path.
I look for the red brick Victorian with turrets
my landmark, my way home.

Fearful of circling back
to an unclear future.