Ode to Lefty

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Mirror image
to my write hand,
holding my
notebook or
whiskered chin
as Righty
emotes below.
That’s been
your nature,
Lefty,
the supporter,
the abettor,
the one always ready
to lend yourself
in autonomic response
to the task at
…well,
you know.

I was always happy
to give you
the spotlight,
pass you the ball
on what was once
a wicked crossover.
You would work
your two bounces
and a floater
to the hoop.
A solo worthy
of Clapton
or Miles.
As always,
you’d defer
to your dominant
partner —
sometimes letting
swing-and-missers
know you had Game
by going
between the legs —
for the glory
of his jumpshot.
Even though
we both knew
Righty
never could
hit the
broad side
of a barn.

But most of all,
I recall
your night job,
how you’d
reach down
from your
black lounger
to rub her throat
and neck,
smooth those
velvet ears
between your
puppy-tooth scarred
thumb
and index finger,
march down
that furry spine
to pat
her bony rump
and make
the return trip
when she’d
lift her head,
signaling
“More.”

Lefty, you were
the one
who never
left her side
until she
left yours.
And I recall
how you
didn’t wash
for a day
and a half
after that,
just kept
floating
up to my face
carrying
that aroma
of memory.
You let
Righty
wipe at
the tears.

Penned this in response to a call for a Pablo Neruda-style ode by my friends at dVerse Poets. Not sure if I was successful, but it made me happy to write it.

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16 thoughts on “Ode to Lefty

  1. Really enjoyed this one, Joe; guess I came along after the Neruda adjustment; mine was more Ginsberg than Pablo, but hey, you find an Ode wherever it may spring up, right?
    Love the tribute to mundane things taken for granted, and spread my paper/screen with fresh tears rethinking about your loss.

  2. Very sharp and pungent, this ode — fine job, Joe — who couldn’t relate to the relationship between right and left, no matter which one is dominant? And there’s a shadow of the “heir and a spare” angst our species was gifted with, given two of almost everything to handle the job one way or the other. The last stanza was especially crisp, bittersweet, dealing with the loss of the other like losing an appendage.

  3. OwWOOOOOO! Love. This is going in my file of poems I cannot live without. Now that the functionality of my right hand has diminished and I am working on switching dominence, I appreciate your ode to the Left even more. Thank you. I am so happy for the grins I lived in your words.

  4. I came looking for an ode to Molly and found this. I so know this feeling……three years later, and the “:missing”: hasnt stopped one bit. Beautifully written, Joe. From your heart and straight to mine.

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