The word ENIGMATIC tattooed
on her forearm, the person next to me
on a train gets a call from her dog
sitter complaining Odin has growled
at him. Put Odin on the phone,
she says—then after a short pause,
in a talking-to-babies voice, Honey
if you will be nice to Mike, I have something
for you, a special treat. I love you! As runnels
of water lurch, zigzag first this then that way
down an oversized window, I realize
I have spent my entire life waiting
for something that was never going to arrive
never happen. He’s a good dog, she
whispers, tongue impaled by a silver stud,
but do not razz him. He hates being razzed.


Ben Sloan teaches at Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. His poems have previously appeared—or are forthcoming in—The Tishman Review, the Pembroke Review, Ozone Park Magazine, and Northampton Poetry Review. His 2017 poetry chapbook, The Road Home, is available from Thirty West Publishing House. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.