Never Had a Dog

Never had a dog
(never wanted a dog
as you will see)
but that is not to say
that dogs did not have me.

A very early memory
I must have been three or four
I was laying flat on the sidewalk
in front of Susie McKee’s place
my shoulders pinned down
by the huge dog
its big black muzzle
ready to bite my face

The older kids, all standing around
as I screamed, terrified…
why weren’t they rescuing me?

I obviously survived
as this memory attests.
So whoever you were
and whoever your big dog was
you’re all forgiven
none of you knew what to do
and your big dog too

A few years later, I met Barney
the dark and stormy
cocker spaniel
He lived across the street
and barked at me relentlessly
and chased my bicycle
and every other kid’s bicycle
and all the passing cars
until one day he was run over
and I was relieved.

Of course I grew up
and coped with dogs
and avoided dogs
and even petted dogs
and spoke to them
so patronizingly.

I pretended to like them
always trying to figure out
how to forge some uneasy truce
before there could be
any misunderstandings
because you never know.

For every nine houses on the block
four have dogs and five do not
and those who do
are likely to have two.
Furious furry forces of nature
waiting for you
when you knock at the door
programmed to pounce
ready to chew.

Sure, the pup who claws
its way to your heart
is just a cute ball
of muscular fuzz
with four paws
and two jaws
but he doesn’t bite
he never does
says the owner
holding the leash tight.

Here I must pen
the inevitable end
of this poetical blog:
you and I may be friends
but my hand does not extend
to your obnoxious dog.

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One Response to Never Had a Dog

  1. Peter Collins says:

    I think this poem might have had a better ending if it contained a verse about how much you play with Penny whenever you come visit! I think your relationship goes a bit past “pretending” to like her.

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