The ex took the dog for an overnight. The boys, too,
but Lola is the one he snapped pictures of while she
raced the lengths of his backyard with a stick in her teeth.
I think this is his way of saying
he misses her.
When he came this morning to bring the dog
and the boys back, his cologne
took over the entryway. It lingered
long afterward, like a memory you don’t want
to keep remembering. Do I sound angry?
I’m not, although whatever this is
is redolent of it, whiffs of that same
indelicate, systemic confusion.
His love is spliced all over with a past
I didn’t create, tromping upstairs
to do homework, whimpering to be let out ,
suffusing the whole downstairs
with its strange and powerful musk.
Sometimes it is so sharp my eyes sting,
and I have to close them, briefly, to keep the story straight.
Then, in moments, they open again, and the lines return.
At dinner, forgetting where she was,
Lola arcs her neck up, points me with her gaze,
and like clockwork, I measure two scoopfuls into her bowl.
Later, I will help with math homework, hear the nickname
Evan gave me before he swivels into the kitchen to say goodnight.
This love is spliced all over with a past I didn’t create,
but it is here, nevertheless, turning toward me,
calling out with new words, swiping a fresh kiss
on my waiting cheek.