Monday, April 25, 2016

Arf! Arf!

A Child's Guide to the Dog
For Miles and Kate
As though reading Yiddish,
let's start with the tail.
While it may look like a handle,
it is not. Don't clutch it like a tow rope
to a speedboat on Lake Delton
before a Tommy Bartlett show.
Neither is it paintbrush or crank.
No, sir: the tail is a delicate instrument,
a gauge by which to reckon canine temper:
beats per minute and angle of incline,
just two of its methods of measure.

The barrel stove of its body
will serve to warm you
when winter licks your hands,
while the neck of any mutt
that's big enough to bear it
will stand your arm, sound
as a coat rack or fence prop.

The mouth of your canine companion
is the Swiss Army Knife of its being:
disposer of garbage, dispenser of kisses,
warning system, paper shredder,
alarm clock, pest controller, bodyguard,
flying object interceptor.

Perhaps you've had cause to notice the eyes,
those adepts at manipulation,
have fallen prey to their spell,
felt their heartbreaking gaze
sweep you like a searchlight
from which there is no escape.
Well then, there is nothing more
you need to know.

Yep, That's My Girl

It occurs to me that what the dog and I have in common
(a love of the outdoors, a good back scratch, and a nap)
is more salient than what we do not—
for instance, my lack of tail, her lack of speech,
my two sluggish legs, her agile four,
my purse, and shoes, and car key,
her bed upon the floor.

When someone asks, Did you adopt her?
it's ever tempting to say, No, I gave birth.
But then, while we both
have noses, eyes, and ears,
they're of noticeably different shapes,
instantly giving me away.

by Yvonne Zipter
in volume 4 issue 2

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