A doll-size boater, trimmed with plastic flowers,
its forward tilt elastic-fixed, just right
(but not too tight) for sitting out the hours.
His master’s busking lasts until it’s night.
The dog is bored but knows he has to sit
hatted and winsome, tempting people’s cash;
that on its own the accordion isn’t it,
nor has his master’s clown attire much dash.
Dog sits. He mustn’t sleep or scratch or yawn.
His role is patience. Underneath the hat—
its stupid twee-ness (daisies, poppies, corn)—
Dog dreams, untwitching, how he’d chase a cat
or deal with grander dogs’ dismissive sniffs,
then roll in fox, slurp puddles in one gulp.
Beneath its straw his life is all what-ifs.
Inside his head Dog chews that hat to pulp.
But did it fruit? you ask, homing straight in
on the heart of the matter. Did you get
something worth eating? Let the truth begin:
nothing so far, and thus the vinaigrette
remains un-called for, as does fresh-made toast.
My avocado’s gawky leggy stem’s
no good for any Instagramming boast.
For that you need the ripest of green gems
while all I’ve got is five leaves on a stick.
Better than nothing, though; at least it grew,
the stone pushed up this scrawny candle wick
to show what tender loving care can do.
I’m glad it likes the kitchen windowsill,
and proves my indoor horticultural skill.
“The Hat” and “Avocado” first appeared in The Oldie (UK).