Dog’s Tale: Doggerel

You Mean You’re NOT a Dog?

Dog ears

secure

you were surprised

people forgot

you were human

and believed

you to be a dog.

You ate

with fork and knife

sat upright

at the table;

you even

tucked a napkin

into your collar.

But we all

just kept looking

for your leash

and canine teeth.

Glad I Don’t Have to Give You Anything to Hold

Your paws on the glass

look like hands

but I’m happy

they can only tap

the glass

and not grasp.

I would hate being

responsible

for giving you

things to hold.

Your paws

dig holes

nudge and tap

but can’t secure.

Your Head Held High; Mine Tugged

The collar

you’ve asked me to wear

isn’t comfortable—

at least not when

attached

to a leash.

Strolling through the park

your head held high

you didn’t notice

mine

tugged to the side

and straining

to lift up

as we walked together.

Why the Clock and Not Our Hunger?

The clock

the humans

pointed to

as I waited

for under-the-table

scraps

didn’t make sense

to me.

I knew time

by my hunger.

How or why

did they refer

to a clock

to dine?

You’re in the House with Me, Unseen

Deft with my nose

I can smell you

sense you

hear you

in the house

with me—

before you ever

reach my floor.

Alone with my

allotment

of water

and dry food

I hear

smell

nearly taste

you

on the the floorboards

above

and below

me.

Who’s Sleeping in My Dog Bed?

Sleeping

in my dog bed

again?

While I was

out walking

I returned

to find you

in my bed

having pushed

my bone

out of the way

sidelined

my chew toy.

I went back

out the sliding glass door

hoping you’ll be

gone

when I return.

My Water Bowl Saves, but Doesn’t Satisfy

My water bowl

isn’t up-to-the-top

full—

not exactly empty

but not full enough

not to be

thirsty.

Repercussions of Cheap Dining Service

Good to know

you’re economizing

on my behalf.

The half-price

kibbles

aren’t so bad

and neither is

my burglar-present

nap.

I Know Bones

Definitely

a bone

you pushed

to the side

and covered

with sweet potatoes—

but my eyes

and canine teeth

know a bone.

Edging Near Your Tablecloth

The teacup

the saucer

the tablecloth

the gently pulled

chairs

the guests

nicely dressed

with appropriate

gifts;

my teeth

latching onto

the rim

aiming to pull

tablecloth

place settings

hors d’oeuvres

out from

under you.

Competing with the Astronaut Dog

The astronaut

dog

makes me feel

bad about myself.

He’s been

to space

and I’ve only

been

to the park.

Salvaging a Posey

Always angry

about forsaken

roses,

the tulips

or peonies

I dug up

may have been

salvaged

for your posey.

You Can Have My Bones; I’ll Have Your Pasta

The Roman dog

only ate

pasta

but his owners

kept feeding him

bones

thinking he’d finally

be convinced

he was a dog.

But he stuck

to pasta smuggling

pushing his bones onto his human

companions’ plates.

A Tranquilizer for You, Too

The tranquilizer

for the flight

worked but

I wondered

why you didn’t

knock yourself

out too.

Your conversation

is much worse

than my barking.

The Cliff’s Turn—Unheeded

The horses

paid no attention

to me scurrying up

the mountain

alongside them.

Passengers

on their backs,

they didn’t hear

my barking

nipping at their

heels

as we rounded

the cliff’s turn.

Taking a Pass on Your Sausage

The hanging sausage

doesn’t tempt me

because I’d have to

come into your store

to jump at it.

The idea

of wagging my tail

begging

on hind legs

cocking my head

so you’d think

I was cute

doesn’t appeal enough

to jump for sausage.

My Pet Human

I take you on

your walks

though you refuse

to wear a leash

like me.

I trust

you’ll heel

come when I bark

and eventually

play dead.

Put a Trace on Me

My paws

in sand

and snow

can be traced

but my paws

tapping with

unclipped claws

across your kitchen

tiles

to your buffet

leave no trace

except

missing pork chops.

My Wolf-Kin

I feel bad

for my wolf-kin

you hunt—

it’s me

in the wild

with fiercer

teeth

silver fur

and greater abilities

to hunt.

You’re killing me

because I don’t

fit on your

living room sofa.

Focus on the Black Birds

Eating my kibbles

still eying your

steak,

you keep telling me

to focus on shooing

the black birds away

to get my eyes off

your plate.

But my kibbles don’t

taste good

and all the black birds

ever on our lawn

won’t distract me.

Happiness I’ve Ripped Up

The daffodil

bed

I don’t respect

so have dug up.

There’s nothing

I won’t dig up

creating a dirt pile

for my bones,

taking happiness

in the garden

I’ve ripped up.

I Got Dirty Because You Dragged Me There

Itchy ears

a tail that drags

in your backyard’s mud

doesn’t mean I’m only

fleas and dirt

trailing through

your home.

The dirt and pests

I bring to you

came from where

you dragged me to.

When You Turned to Ask for the Butter

The scraps

are satisfying

but only because

they’re scraps

you don’t know about—

your pork chop

sliding off the side

of your plate

as you turn

to ask

for the butter.

Microchipped Home

The way home

is encoded

in my brain

and by rote

in my paws

but you’ve microchipped

it under my skin

even though

yours may not be

my home forever.

I’ll Stop Barking When You Do

You told me

to stay quiet

in your purse

at the bank

because I wasn’t

allowed

and to stay quiet

under the table

at the restaurant

where I also wasn’t

allowed

but meanwhile

you never

shut up

yourself.

I’m Not Graceful; Just Your Companion

The cat’s been let out

for the night

so why am I left

neutered

to sleep on top

of your slippers?

If you could only

catch him

you say you’d neuter

him too

but he wails

to be let out

climbs so well

hunts

de-mouses

and creeps along

windowsills

with grace

while I’m just

your companion.

King’s Dog

The king says

I have to abide

by his side

as he sits

on his throne

walks along the beach

the people we pass

asking if they can

pet me.

I’d like to sneak off

and be one of their dogs

but they always

cluck their tongues

saying how lucky I am

to be the dog

of a king

and move on.

Tracking my Owner

My owner

wears a cologne

that makes him

easy to track

on the golf course

his easy chair

the backyard

the toilet.

I try to ignore

his scent

(hard for a dog)

wishing he’d go

someplace

more exotic.

Your Belongings Are My Chew Toys

The dump truck

towed the belongings

I gnawed at

as if they were useless—

a chewed up armchair

the toys

I ravaged

but I could still have used them—

your belongings

to you

my chew toys

to me.

Civilization of Talking Dogs

Will the people

of the future

finding my bones

leash, collar

and water bowl

suspect

21st century humans

were talking dogs?

Panting at the Base of the Tree

The birds sing

and I bark

to keep up

with the cat’s

track up their branches

swiping at them

making a noonday

meal of them

while I circle

the base of the tree

panting.

Splashing Back

Getting de-fleaed

the bath stings

and the water

is too hot—

so I splash it

in the eyes

of the one

who plunged me

in.

Picking Up On Your Crap

Doing the walk

with you

is laborious

but I’m the only

one who picks

up on your crap.

Can’t Find the Moon

Howling but can’t

find the moon

so digging deeper

because I can’t

find the sights

in the sky

my wolf relatives

handed me,

or at least

howled toward

themselves.

Shadow of a Bat

The shadow of a bat

on the stairwell

had me leaping

and barking

at 4 a.m.

which disturbed you,

but you brought me hunting

so often

I thought it was a bird

to retrieve for you,

stumbling out of your room

in your underpants.

Invisibly Fenced In

At the edges

of the gate

my nose tapped

the electric fence—

pushed back

by the invisible

current,

fur bristling

while the other dogs

in the park across

the lawn

played without me.

My Second-Grade Meat

The pot’s on the stove

and I smell stew

and see a cake

waiting to be placed

under rich icing

and I see my kibbles

and second-grade

meat in a can

on the floor.

Gardening with Dog

The basket

you pushed me off from

happened to include

your bulbs

for next year’s

crop of dug up.

Extensive Fur

The vet says

I’m too fat

but how does he

know it isn’t

especially

full-bodied

fur?

My tail is looking

bushier than usual

and my paws

are robust.

My belly is all

muscle

under extensive

fur.

Garden for You

Sitting on top of the tulips

my tail up

a daffodil,

I’m taking the spring

garden in.

The mud on my paws

tracked over your

new carpet

my way

of bringing the garden

to you.

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