The Safe Distance Silence

A silence abounds when we make our rounds,
for my two dogs and I on our walks.
There are houses with spouses,
with singles, and what-not’s.
They don’t wave, they won’t smile,
much less will they  talk.
This silence astounds on these daily done rounds,
it’s the sound of a safe distance silence.
Some cut-level looks, non-verbal announcements,
signals potential to some low-level violence.
”Don’t tread on me!” kinetic pronouncements
are the sounds of a safe distance silence.
One day, one time, on one of these walks,
a man began ambling our way.
Amazing, I’m thinking, this man wants to talk.
This should be surprising to hear what he’ll say.
This also might mean I might have mistaken
the spouses in houses, the singles, and what-not’s.
So I greeted and smiled even after he’d spoken.
He looked at me squarely, unfriendly and said:
This ain’t no dog walking area!”

Copyright © 2011 Marvin Loyd Welborn. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Marvin,
    You brought out an episode which might inadvertently provoke untold violence. In all innocence our desire to be nice is misconstrued. Great write!


  2. I can feel that dog-walking rhythm in this–I’ve come back to the house with several poems in that meter after a walk with my behemoth Chinook. My neighborhood is pretty friendly though–yours has a feel of barely controlled anger, undercurrents of tension. Good stuff.

  3. Too much scare-tactic news, too many cars isolating us from our community; we don’t know our neighbors and the concept of village is missing. We live in boxes – computer, televisions and scare ourselves to death. There are islands of neighborhoods and still a few small towns but self-preservation prevails and fear abounds. Well written!


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