DOGGEREL SWIM

 The old Daisy
           dog sleeps
            by the fireplace 
            at night
 under an avalanche 
            of curry-combed
              polar bear fur
 making rusty handsaw 
 blade noises through
               the plank
               she pants
 and can’t make 
 it down the front 
 porch steps anymore
 to cool off, 
 so she moseys 
 to the backroom 
 to eat the catfood 
 and drink some 
 shredded toilet 
 paper water.
 

 Young Hoss Cartwright 
 that Rottweilin’ hound 
 chews on 
 deer and elk bones
 carcasses in the front
 yard sun. 
 He’s got a hole in
 every fence to forage
 by night for more roadkill, 
 the hair on the back of his neck
   stands 
 up 
 when a pickup rounds 
 the gravel bend 
 in the road. 
 

 Daisy reserves her barks 
 to let us know when she wants to
 be let in at night.
 its her right
 as the reigning
 canine matriarch.
 

 I sit on the front
 steps rolling a cigarette
 and spilling some tobacco
 to the earth for the Indians 
 smoking in the chill
 that hurts my lungs
 with a rush 
 in my head that
 reminds me 
 when I was a kid
 trying to swim 
 clean across the lake, 
 midway through green 
 water, panicking 
 and running out of
 steam  
 roll over on my back
 to float the sky
 for a moment’s
 breath. 
 

 Same water. Different lake. 
 Same boy. Different currents.
 In this dog’s world. 
 

  

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