George grew up on a farm.
He was a loner even then,
& liked to fish or hunt alone.
He kept his feelings bottled up.
He became a self-employed plumber.
He had a helper who went with him on jobs,
to carry his toolbox & spare his bad back.
He’d open up & talk while he worked,
telling him how water flowed,
how valves & joints controlled
a home’s circulation, how rust
corrupts the arteries from outside
while sediments block the flow
from the inside, & need to be drained.
The only time he cried
was when his dog Jeff died.
Jeff was in his twenties, blind
& also deaf. They’d been together
since he was a pup. He put him out
of his pain with a .22, & then he wept.
Eric Greinke’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, most recently Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Poem, The Aurorean, and Forge. He has collaborated extensively with other poets, and is working on a book about it, to be titled In the 3rd Person. Three of his essays appear in the soon to be published anthology Poetry Matters. www.ericgreinke.com