They came and took the dog away today
and they’re going to put it to sleep
because it barked, they say.
A lady dropped a dime in the checkout line
and no one stooped to pick it up.
She shrugged and said, “It’s just a dime.”
An old man on the bench in the park watched a kid run about,
tossing peanuts to the pigeons. The old man grinned
and waved and nodded and someone called the cops to check him out.
Some teens made a giggling trip to the mall
during the day, a school day, to shop for jeans.
In the food court they had burgers and a malt.
A woman in a minivan hurried into the grocery lot.
She never gave it a thought as she parked,
ignoring the sign for the handicapped spot.
An elderly lady sat in the library with a permanent pout,
not reading her book. She fell asleep and passed away
and for a day, a very long day, no one came to check her out.
They came and took the dog away today.
The veggie stand sold the last of the corn.
Winter came and took the leaves away.
Somewhere, someone was popping popcorn,
the smell hanging in the air like bacon frying
and in the hospital, another baby was born.
On the news they said an icy patch ended the lives and ride
of this drunken man and the girl whose car he hit.
We lit a fire today. It was cold, so very cold. Outside.
--Copyright 2006, Daniel E Speers
So Very Cold Outside first published in Margie,
The American Journal of Poetry, vol. 5