The Germans From Dortmund

The infertile beast
Embarrasses the Itcha Mountain-guide
Before two eye-rolling Germans
From Dortmund.

It lies on a strapped-on canvas bag of
Food and pots,
Glaring as only mules
Can glare.

"Gittum!" the bow-legged,
Horse-held guide
Demands of the one-eared collie
That then darts in,
Nipping a foreleg,
Nipping a buttock, then
The nose, barking more,
Always drawing back just in time,
Avoiding the twitching mule's


Twelve years after
The Germans had returned to their
Homeland of dying Black Forest,
And after the collie had lost some hair
And molars,
It forgot--
Forgot as it edged a switchback,
Passing the grey hind legs.

A hoof caught it broadside,
Knocked it spinning, howling,
Into a 100 foot deep gully--
The mule's left ear twitched
When the thud came.

The mountain-locked old man had stopped.
The mule hadn't.
The old man didn't yell--
Oh, he nearly did:
That was his dog!--
But he remembered,
Like the grey mule,
He remembered that trip
With the Germans
Twelve years ago.

previous t.o.c. next