Good Boy

By Jesse Mast

He tumbled onto the rug and
Got up again, and this time Rodney took two whole steps.
Applause. Six more steps. And then they gave him a raisin.

They told him he had “to go.”
He went, and they gave Rodney a raisin (sometimes two).
Chocolate wasn’t good for
That sort of thing. Raisins were good for you.

He got ten in the bathtub every
Saturday night.
“Raisin fingers” Mommy called them.
They tasted yucky though
(like sometimes when he had his mouth washed out with soap)

But they were the only prize for enduring bathtime.
He was a big boy. And too much chocolate still
Wasn’t good for you.

Rodney’s boss increased his salary because
He was a good worker, and that was
How things were.

When Rodney’s knee began to throb
And ache, he poured gin and added a handful of golden
Raisins — for his damn arthritis, you know — soaked them and ate
Probably a good bit more than ten now
But he was careful. Rodney didn’t drink.

Rodney’s widow still has his golden-embossed solid oak plaque:
“Employee of the year”


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