Kicking up Leaves and Rolling Around in Dead Things

Your reward for taking your monthly bath
even though you scratched me on the chest
as I foolishly crouched down with you in the tub, naked
is the same as it ever was–we’ll wait until you dry off
then let you off your leash at the local park
which is consistently muddy in the spring
so you can get unspeakably filthy again


Born of Dreams

A study has emerged in the popular news network
which means it’s probably completely unfounded
that dogs dream of their owners while cats dream of hunting

I apologize to my dog as I pluck him from the end of the bed
where he lays sleeping so that I can hold him
no matter, he flops back down onto my neck
as if he is deboned-not even a sigh escapes

I wonder what must it be like to give himself over
from me, who is holding him annoyingly close
to the other owner, who looks like me, but is born of dreams
when I pick him up, he must switch between us

I know he still prefers me because he comes
out of such a dead slumber as this
to dutifully follow me from the bathroom to the kitchen
my boyfriend said once, he will always be a puppy
because he is small, enthusiastic, clumsy
but I know that he is not done switching over

one day, with arthritic legs, he might watch me from the bed
wistfully as I walk from the bathroom into the kitchen
half wishing he had the energy to follow but half still asleep
and some day further, he will give himself over completely
I just hope his dream owner loves him as thoroughly
and treats him well as I will still want to
when she takes him into her custody

A Rescue Plan for the Woman who Lays in Bed Whining

Tyra would not get out of bed on her thirtieth birthday
or let me celebrate with her in any way
although she left the door open so I could let myself in
she tucked the blankets into all her edges
including her feet, with only her face bare
stubborn and grimacing

I tried to untuck her for a tickle into laughter
but she had armed herself against that favored tactic
I told her I would buy anything she wanted
or that she could buy it herself
because she was so much more successful than me

Then I huffed up my frustration and almost turned away
I muttered, Well, you’ll have to give up
And keep me company anyways
Because all of the idiots are going to do stupid things
And start dying off around this age

She didn’t say she didn’t care or cry or moan
so I looked over at her to find my reward
that she was grinning, so that was what worked
she slowly dressed and let me take her out
for dinner and dessert

now I refuse to answer my boyfriend
because I am thirty and unlike Tyra
spend almost all my time sleeping
so he prompts me with the baby voice
he uses to represent our puppy
a voice I could never argue with

and says, I have one hero, my mommy!
Oh really, Grendel. Why is that? Mommy hasn’t ever
accomplished anything but giving you belly rubs
and making you dog food omelets.
Not true, mommy! You saved me three times!

The time there was a price on my head
You saved me from the Russians in Lynn
Who kept me in a cage and lied about my heritage
as if being a purebred would make me worth more than I already am
you saw past my knotted hair, bad breeding and ill manners
and paid an exorbitant price for me, always saying I was worth every penny

then at the dog park, when that scary dog put me in his mouth
and shook me while I screamed and bled
and all the other pet owners stood stunned
you ran past them, punched that dog in the mouth
and rushed me off to the hospital
where you held my paw and sang me songs

and then when our house burned down
you picked me up before you even put your shoes on
and carried me out snuggling my nose into your jacket
to protect me from smoke inhalation
and cooed to me so I wouldn’t be frightened
and rubbed my feet so they wouldn’t be as cold
as your own feet were getting, bare against the snow

you have done way more for me
mommy, than Tyra could ever have dreamed
of doing good for anyone by the time she was thirty
so how is she more successful than you, again?
I don’t know, I answered, but I’m feeling hungry
so I got up smiling, and dressed slowly for our dinner party

Breakfast with the King

No one believes that my dog can be vicious
Since none of them are charged with his care in the early morning
when he is at his most demanding, obnoxious, and even violent
stomping around my bed and torso like a littler Napoleon
stepping on the very roots of my hair to pull them from my skull
which produces my shriek of course, but also a sound like Velcro
and then raises a paw to tip over my opened water bottle on the bedside table
looking me dead in the eye before he does it—all of this happens in under a minute

of course, he could’ve spent the last hour and a half asking more politely
before he resorted to this. It’s entirely possible I just slept through it
but there I go again, making excuses for him

after breakfast, like a beloved cult leader, he rewards my service lavishly
when we get back into bed, he stretches his back with his paws against my chest
produces my very favorite tiny sound from the back of his throat when he yawns
a sound like “ah!” and then he nestles up into my neck and kisses my earlobe

On private bad thoughts: a blog to read with a grain of salt

An honest to god black lab puppy

Mouthed the glasses off my face

When I leaned down to pet him

First thing this morning

He seemed very proud of himself

As he ran off to investigate them in the bushes

His owner apologized profusely

While I was laughing, then asking

My god, congratulations–what a blessing he is! Do you live around here? Can my dog and I see you again?

She said yes and we exchanged information

I am writing to paint a picture

For my readers of my everyday life and demeaner

My poetry is heavy

But it’s just the vitriol that was implanted when I was very young

Draining from my blood stream

No more skittles for you

once in a while he will whimper

in his sleep and his little furry legs

will twitch then i wake him up and say

“Honey, youre just dreaming…its ok.”

so he saunters over and curls up next to me


but tonight, wow! he must have been dreaming

of a zombie apolocolypse – he jolted awake

with no warning and barked and howled

at the window and wouldn’t calm down

for five whole minutes. i think it’s because

i walked in on him earlier in the evening

eating a fun sized bag of skittles

and didn’t make it in time to stop him

from now on, all the halloween candy

is going into a locked cabinet