Poem by Marie Howe: “Buddy”

A sweet poem about how we can often misunderstand each other.

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By Marie Howe

Andy sees us to the door, and Buddy is suddenly all over him, leaping
and barking because Andy said: walk. Are you going to walk home? he said.

To me. And Buddy thinks him and now, and he’s wrong. He doesn’t
understand the difference between sign and symbol like we do–the thing

and the word for the thing, how we can talk about something when it’s not
even there, without it actually happening–the way I talk about John.

Andy meant: soon. He meant me. As for Buddy, Andy meant: later. When he
was good and ready, he said. Buddy doesn’t understand. He’s in a state

of agitation and grief, scratching at the door. If one of us said, Andy,
when Andy wasn’t there, that silly Buddy would probably jump up barking

and begin looking for him.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Happy weekend, everyone. Hope you all stay cozy and warm!