Premonition, Robert Stout

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A bitch in heat, the males
       a comet tail behind.
     An old man propped
against his cane turns, stares,
smile a twisted lemon
     bruising puffy lips.

Schoolgirls in uniform, skirts
hiked above their knees,
     grit their teeth
as though the dogs
were gangs of older boys
     chasing, wanting, licking lips…

The scent, the songs, lascivious
smiles, fear and want
     an oil/water swirl
conflicting, overlapping,
     anger, hurt, boasts caught
in currents of a swollen creek:

Hold on! Becoming someone
      not oneself, a future something
     swirling through a grand expanse.
The dogs return, males first,
the bitch behind, sidle back to owners,
     lap up water, scratch;

the old man lights a cigarette,
the schoolgirls check their skirts,
     the boys punch and elbow,
tell bad jokes, but turn
—all turn—as the bitch growls
     and squats to rub her swollen rump.

Robert Stout

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