By Judge Alone

This poem won Peoples Choice in 2-Day Poem Contest 2018

Don’t judge the way I jury-rigged the birdfeeder you hung years ago. Squirrels broke the line. I don’t trust you to climb up to fix it any more.

Don’t judge either canvas of the river, one Impressionist, one Realist. You used to love them. 

Don’t judge the dog-nose art that can’t be cleaned off until spring; its roric figures foretell weather. Cold.

Don’t try to judge our separate changes. Exert your will on what will transpire in your world.

Don’t judge, rail, beg, or wave your arms at the walls, at the windows, at me.

Don’t judge the commodious fit of my t-shirts; I wear them, they don’t fit, I wear them.

Don’t judge my hoarded jeans, mostly blue and black but one rust-red. All paint splattered and torn by dog nails.

Don’t judge my absurd hats and scarves and coifs. I’m figuring myself out all by myself these days. Sometimes I get me wrong.

Don’t get me wrong.

Don’t judge the puppy – body grown but brain still feckless. He needs a home; you need him.

Don’t begrudge his warm coat.

Don’t judge him for being death on squirrels. He’s gentle at night.

Don’t judge him for eating a whole orange – fruit, pips, rind, and pith. You forgot his dinner. 

I’m not judging.

Don’t judge the frisson that curls my lip when I consider the tub, the rust.

Don’t judge me for not helping more.

Don’t judge yourself for walking the pup.

Judge yourself for walking him on York Street, though, with its liquor stores at top and bottom.

Don’t  judge your hidden empties, buried in snowbanks along with a monumental volume of dogshit.  Spring melts it all out. You can’t stop it.