Like a Giraffe

“Oh, oh! I see, my dear,”

Like a Giraffe
Photo by Mike Prince / Unsplash

By Mario Duarte

The tall woman tripped
Over the tiny brown dog
Who was begging for music.

The dog let out a yelp.
“Pardon,” said the giantess.
“I did not see you, there” 

All the dog could do 
Was swell his bright eyes—
Spray long, salty tears

Until his sore paw pointed
At the corner juke box
In the stale beer soaked bar.

“Oh, oh! I see, my dear,”
Said the towering lady.
In the slot, she dropped a coin.

Out flew a symphony 
That drew the thunder
And lightning out of them. 

The dog smiled, she hummed.
“Why that machine hasn’t 
Worked in years. How odd.”

Beyond the panes, wet stars
Waved and an angelic voice
From the void rang out.

Then, everyone sang—
The dog, pitch perfect,
The tall lady hitting 

The highest notes. Even,
The barkeep added a warm
Baritone, thawing the ice, 

Snowflakes in winter light
Pointed at all as if to say,
“Here is where you are.

Where we all should be.”
And the dog, and the lady 
Sang their thanks, praises

Until the stars flared out
One by one and the sun spoke
With a flame felt by all.

The stones awoke, and tall grasses
Swayed in wind song. In the end,
The lady picked up the dog,

Carried him home, and they
Slept and dreamed, oh what 
Dreams of music, why not?

Why not, wade in music,
Float downstream, swirl.
Why not swim, dream.

Mario Duarte is a Mexican American writer. He is an Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate who lives in Iowa City. His poems and short stories have appeared in Arkana, Emerald City, Ocotillo Review, Red Ogre Review, and Rigorous, among others.  Recently, he published a poetry collection To the Death of the Author and a short story collection My Father Called Us Monkeys Growing Up Mexican American in the Heartland will be released soon.