Posts Tagged ‘dog’


            for Craig and Daiva

Tonight love is a stray dog,

hungry and lean, manhood intact,

who wanders to your front yard,

drawn by the smell of food

and also to the laughter,

the quiet guitar, the poems.

He laps at spilled wine.

He nuzzles your hand.

He curls into the lap

of everyone who will receive him.

And though you can’t fathom

where he came from, can’t name him,

can’t say what will happen tomorrow,

tonight, love finds a place

on your bench and nestles in,

refuses to leave, insists

on being at the center of things.

Meanwhile, overhead,

Jupiter and Saturn, the two biggest worlds

in our solar system, prepare to conjoin.

Meanwhile, all around there is howling.

But love doesn’t make any noise,

no, he is content to listen to your voices

telling the story of how it all began.

He is content to be here,

content to let you turn another page,

while at your feet, he stretches, settles,

makes your home his home.

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One Great Loss

—for Jack



such terrible silence

when the dog isn’t whining at the door—

the space on the dog bed empty

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My daughter walks up the drive to meet me.

Mom, she says, I have a pet.

She is dragging an old pump

attached to a long black electrical cord.

Meet Pumpy, she says.

Hello Pumpy, I say. She pulls

the red and black cylinder into her arms.

I am trying to prove to you

that I am ready to be a dog owner, Mom.

I am going to take Pumpy for walks

every night and every morning

and give him a bath in the river. Come.

She puts the pump back on the ground

and yanks it up the drive, calling,

Come boy. Good Pumpy.

When we get to the top of the drive,

she picks up Pumpy to cross the street.

You know, she says, the street

is a dangerous place.

And then we walk up the dirt hillside.

There, she finds an old deer bone

and helps Pumpy to bury it.

Mom, she says, what do you think?

I think my heart is breaking

with the purity of her desire.

I think the evening light

makes everything more beautiful.

I think it is hard to say no

to something our loves really want.

No, I say. We can’t get a dog.

But you will be a great dog owner someday.

She knew this would be the answer,

and says, Come, Pumpy,

there’s more to explore.

And though it’s getting dark,

we walk deeper into the woods.



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How Long Can It Last?

They had razor-sharp teeth
and powerful jaws,
those words I almost
let charge out of my mouth.
They were looking
at your neck, your chest.
And then, with my hand
reaching to undo the leash,
I noticed through
the window how the juniper
is more silver than green.
It’s a silly thing, but
it stopped me long
enough to notice how
the silence, too, has
a silvery hue. And
for that second, I chose
not to fill it with gnashing.
Not the next moment
either. Suddenly, in every
moment, there is more
to notice. The words
follow my gaze and perk
up their ears. We all get
very quiet. None of us want
to miss a thing.

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