methow grist 2011-2014 archive

My Daughter’s Dog

From his online collection, “Conjugating the Verb To Be: The Poetry of Time and Place

I like to pull
My daughter’s dog’s tail around
And tease his nose with it.
It’s still here,
I’ll tell him,
Right behind you,
Following you everywhere.
And he grabs onto it
With his mouth
And pulls himself
Around and around
Until he gets bored
And moves on.

My daughter’s dog
Races through the front door,
Skittering clickety clickety clickety 
Across the bamboo floor,
Turning towards the kitchen
Before he slams into the piano.
He must anticipate 
Something remarkable,
Every moment being now,
To risk so much –
Like there’s really going to be
A pork chop in his food dish.
Finding none,
He stares at me,
Right eye red
In the reflected light.
You expect too much,
I tell him.

He’s a heavy sleeper.
One night,
A cougar cub stalked him
Within a couple of feet
On the dark deck
Before he awoke
From his young dream
To the strange, wild scent
Of the cub.
Then the deck exploded,
And we saw
The tawny butt of the cat
Flying over the fence.
The dog sleeps inside now.

Some evenings,
When he
Comes in for the night,
He stretches out
Between the living room
And the kitchen,
Reaches out his front paw,
And tries to trip me
As I walk by.

He sings beautifully,
Although why he sings
Is beyond my ken.
It is as if he is moved from within
By some ancient wound to his heart
Or the heart of his kind,
The only trace
Being this long, blue wail
For everything
Lost and wild in the world.



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