If at night I stray in thought,
dreaming of nimble fingers
and my departed dog’s walk,
will you smile
when I scratch his absent ear
and apologize for the times
I failed him? Even combined,
all the words in these unread books
could never soothe the guilt
of leisure and complacency, nor
match the joy of jumping
for the kicked ball, no matter the
outcome, despite the consequences.
“Arthritis” is included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus, and has appeared on the blog as well.
All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.
After Reading That Dogs Relieve Themselves in Alignment with the Earth’s Magnetic Field, I Observe and Take Notes
Perhaps Ozymandias is an anomaly. He shows no
preference for the north-south axis while pooping,
and may hedge his bets slightly to the east when
urinating, especially at twilight. Clara the miniature
Schnauzer, ever Germanic in her manner, preferred
true north, always, while blind, deaf, humpbacked
Maury pointed his rear right leg forward, to the south.
Jackboy the cattledog was an omnidirectional reliever,
as is the Chihuahua, Apollonia, although she twists and
snaps at blinking fireflies in mid-squat, never connecting
with the dancing, lighted beetles. I do not recall the
bulldog’s habits, but Scotch trended towards the untidy
in all else, and expended as little energy as possible,
often leaning against the house while peeing on it. I
cannot say which direction my next scientific inquiry
will take, but I will, as always, follow the dogs’ lead.
This poem last appeared here in December 2017, and was written during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 Challenge. Many thanks to Susan Nefzger for sponsoring the poem. She is NOT to blame for the title or the contents of the poem…
We define ourselves in movement,
in the uncertain light and forms
shuddering by: fences, the nameless
wave, odors, dark water.
Look at the hills, their lines stretched taut like
smiles, or voices torn from the earth.
Or the creek below us – how its mouth never closes
yet nothing emerges but a shadow
on the wind. Two questions arise,
leaving only the abandoned to consider.
In our solitude, only my self is missing.
“Jackboy’s Lament” made its first appearance here in October 2015. I started the poem about a dozen years ago, after a drive through the Texas hill country with Jackboy the cattledog, who was quite the philosopher and humorist. This is what emerged after several conversations and much reflection over his circumstances (abused, abandoned, rescued). Jack didn’t talk much, but he thought. Oh, how he thought.
Abused, abandoned and left to die of thirst or predation almost sixteen years ago on a largely uninhabited county road terminating at our rural property’s entrance, Jackboy brought much laughter and comfort to our household. Tireless shadow, friend, writing partner, loyal companion and protector, he was, and will remain forever, a good boy – in his estimation, the highest possible praise. Nearly four years have passed. We miss him.
recognition eases in: the patterns
of repetition and praise
and joy in task. The orange ball. A scorpion’s
tail. How we delight in sharing each
victory. And with the breeze
runs other unspoken tales – a neighbor’s
cruelty, bones, the pregnant raccoon
lumbering through the cedars. But nothing
deters the jump and the following drop.