Rush Hour

by Dallas Lee

In the shadow
     of the elevated freeway
     on a littered dirt slope
     between boarded storefronts
     a skeletal male dog
     stands spread-legged beside
     a boy five, maybe six,
     sucking the thumb
     of his left hand
     while with his right
     he masturbates the beast,
     oblivious to we who
     cannot help but see
     as we creep along this
     short-cut home.

Had that child been
     drowning, on fire,
     quaking with seizures,
     stabbed or bullet-riddled
     and bleeding to death,
     fallen and broken
     or just lost, sobbing
     and afraid, any one of us –
     any soul – would have
     known what to do.

About the Author

Dallas Lee is a former journalist (The Associated Press, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, The Waco News-Tribune, and Missions USA), and a retired speechwriter. His poetry has been published by Connotations Press, The Cortland Review, The Boiler Journal, and Starry Night Review (SNR), and he has contributed essays and commentary to the online journal LikeTheDew.com. He is the author of The Cotton Patch Evidence, the Story of Clarence Jordan and the Koinonia Farm Experiment (Harper & Row), a book that chronicles events leading to the creation of Habitat for Humanity in Sumter County Georgia. He is a native of Graham, Texas, a graduate of Baylor University, and lives in Charlotte NC with his wife Mary and their aging sweetheart of a Yorkie-poo, Ruthie.