There’s no point in planting a garden
this year: the idiot pup would tear it up.
He considers the raised beds his own
personal bone mine, he digs and digs.
So, no peppers or ‘maters, basil or squash.
We’ll get by with bland store-bought 
though our tastebuds may revolt. 
Chaos comes with four paws.

That great uncle of mine who would 
make bathtub gin when he came off
the road from selling encyclopedias:
after a stroke, he said food never tasted right. 
Not jalapeños, or spicy barbecue,
not lemon ice or a simple hamburger.
Everything tasted like burning hair.
After he died we buried him
just as he asked, surrounded 
by lilies and with a grilled steak in plastic wrap
and a jar of whole grain, his first meal 
for when he reached the other side.

That roadside mango stand on the way back
from my every Wednesday hike in the Santa Catalinas. 
Letting the fruit chill in the fridge and then
peeling one on the patio in the 
starched Arizona heat. How the cold juice 
ran down my chin; how the ants gathered
beneath the chair, a communion of drunkards 
for that liquor so long brewed within rubbery skin.

I ran into a buzzard once who was too slow
rising from the road, too attached 
to his meal to notice my truck coming
his way. I even honked as I grew close 
and hit the brakes – late —
that great fat-bodied bird lifting off
got clipped by my windshield. 
I watched him slowly spiral down
into the adjoining hayfield, his brothers
clocking his every move.