Otto ( "Free") “Free” (first draft)

“Free” (first draft)

Grounds for your garden, please help yourself,
the sign reads in a perky array of green fields and golden sun.

The sun and pastoral scene of the FREE ad
remind me of Otto’s play land, our backyard,

where free to roam, brave hunter dog, won’t dunk his tootsies
in the pool even on the hottest south Floridian day.

His favorite pastime, cavorting in the garden—
he knows is his domain; where he prances with squeak toy

or darts over the waylaid kayak, leaps midair
for a Wilson yellow tennis ball,

quite deflated by his super-duper canines.
He chases sassy squirrels, feisty opossums, gray doves,

transparent geckoes and emerald green iguanas diving off the dock,
but it’s a guarantee if Otto ever got a sniff of Starbucks’

leftover coffee grounds sprinkled in my wooden planters
to aerate the basil’s soil, or newly planted cilantro,

he’d most likely yelp like mad, an invitation to the new neighbor’s dog
for a quick cup of bold java, hoping I’ll lace it with Sambuca.

Flash Forward: he’ll twitch his nose, send fierce telegraphic barks across
the other fence for Mister Riley, the party colored pup next door.

This translates to Riley’s owner popping over for a look see
at the party. The equation now compounded …

I’ll have to serve the French fruit tarts set aside for tonight’s desert—
So as you can plainly see, and surely must agree,

I should insist you take down that sign, for nothing’s free
about those grounds now is there, Starbucks?