Rushing things a little,
Our Christmas tree is up,
Simple this time, no ornaments,
Kind of the way I like it, but that’ll change.

Hushing things a little,
My dog is a pile of paws,
Down for the night, couch bound,
Just the way he likes it and there is no change coming.

Pushing things a little,
Fighting the urge to go to bed
I’ll sit here looking at the tree
Then I’ll follow my dog’s lead and head to bed.

We walked today,
First, me with my imagination,
Doing math problems in my head
That most would find simple,
But I found a bit difficult
Since the humidity and a snake distracted me.

Later, I went out with my dog,
Out of our neighborhood and he was smiling,
Even trotting a bit, he can be a bit of a show off,
Until we got about half way out
When he realized that this was a proper walk,
Not a stop and stiff every five or six steps.

Either way, the arithmetic folly or the pit bull pull,
I loved being out,
Sticky tropical air spun around with a gathering wind,
Early morning ambitious sun
Followed by the golden hour light.
Walks allow a mind to rest and a soul to sense.

Today, it happened twice.


He’s nesting,
Spinning around and around,
Whirling with a purpose undeterred,
Digging at his blanket,
Trying to get it just right.
His tail clobbered me in the head,
His stink eye just missing my ear.
He can’t get it right,
Pawing, ducking, bobbing, weaving,
Looking for his best spot.

Down for the count.
Nesting over, a pit bull ball.

The problem with living where you teach,
Especially, if you are there long enough to experience
A full change of hair color
Is that the kids grow up and become adults.
Rarely do they look the same or act the same
And when they say hello,
It’s such a challenge to remember their names.

I’ve been running in a park these last six weeks,
It doesn’t get enough attention from the group I run with,
But that’s nothing for this because I’ve been running solo.
Several weekends in a row, I’ve seen a beautiful brown pit bull,
Giant head, brown and white body, and a graying snout.
He sticks out because his harness is military-grade,
Befitting of his stature.

I always wave to the owner, but in keeping my space,
I’ve been keeping a distance, choosing to focus on the run,
Holding my breath as I pass, and getting on with my business,
Until today when nature called and I deviated to the port-a-potty.
As I stepped out I saw the pit which was right on my path,
His owner said, “Dr. Hancock?”
I stopped, so much for social distancing.

It turned out that my old student, now nearly thirty,
Had been living nearby all along
Working a good job, raising a family, and taking care of his elderly dog.
Funny, because one of the last times I had seen him,
More than twelve years ago, he was explaining to me
Why he had to fight a bunch of guys at school,
“If I don’t, they’ll just jump me at home.”

They never jumped him, again,
As he took care of himself that day.
He never followed into their way of life,
Putting the chollo way as far away from himself as he could
Finishing school, making a life for himself that didn’t include an affiliation.
We talked for a few minutes, mostly about pit bulls, and when we finished
I ran away with a smile. One had made it!

When the barking starts,
I know there is something wrong.
Maybe it’s a neighborhood dog walking by,
Maybe I just need some more sleep.
I can’t believe my dog needs more sleep,
He’s curled up in a ball all day.
I doubt I need more either,
Seven plus hours each night,
So what’s with the bark?
He’s trotting back down the hall
After staring out the front door.
I’m getting up after a nap,
No telling, here.