by Russell Rowland

Two women up the hiking trail
inquire for pliers I do not pack.

Friendship and enmity, it seems,
have like consequence: their dog
just got a porcupine billet-doux.

Dog paws at his jowls, then rubs
his face in the unresponsive dirt.

Not stupid, I have learned a lot
from thrust, barb, pointed remark.

But it is the second time for him,
they tell me, shaking their heads:
these young women with children
in school, husbands somewhere,

freedom and vigor for the climb;
carefree enough to laugh this off,
sure of themselves. I bet no men
would wound such women twice.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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