They had had it in mind to adopt a retired whippet,
which would have been easy for a retired ballet
dancer, if she had been one, and easy on the wallet
for him, an actuary. But she was a pellet-
and-woodstove saleswoman. They looked at a basset.
They looked at a whippet with a two-tone palette,
pale gray and dark gray, in Ashuelot,
New Hampshire. The dog’s name was Linnet.
They had a tacit
agreement to go to spinet
concerts on Sundays. “Put on your bonnet.”
Moving through a thicket
of lilac and viburnum, claret
and crimson, with wild carrot,
tuffet after tuffet,
they got to the Grange in a minute.
That evening the spinet was accompanied by clarinet.
At supper he looked at his beloved and he looked at Linnet
(who had in fact come to live with them) asleep on her pallet.
“Beloved,” he said, “you have a fine palate,
and these delicate frites in the skillet
are the match for asparagus and fillet
of sole, together with the tart of russet
apples. You cosset
me. These words are my billet-
doux to you, with whom I am honored to share citizenship
in a nation where, in the
private sector, we observe the generosity of, say,
while in the public sector our polity allows us to ferret
out a solution to the occasional Congressional impasse:
a tie-breaking ballot
by the nation’s Vice President, the President of the Senate.”