Poem --- Different Dogs
Some poems are not triumphant or ennobling and still manage to strike the heart. This is one such. It is from the New Yorker (Jan 17, 2011).
I’m sitting here with this bony Doberman
atop a stinky knoll back of the Oklahoma
City Animal Shelter. I make sure to walk
the wretched ones. The others barked
raucously as she ambled out of her cage
into the noose of my leash, which hung slack
as we shuffled past the monsters in the segregated pen —
some, the workers say, are just born bad.
The dog trembles in the fall chill as we watch
a mist drift over the downtown skyline.
Somewhere in that fog is Krystal, the woman
I met Saturday night, who seemed to know
everyone in the bar but kept circling back
to me, even after she let some crazy asshole
lick her eyeball. At closing she gave me
her number, and I figured, doing the math,
her younger age and good breasts plus nice face
minus the acne scars, which didn’t matter
to me, but probably did to her, equaled
my first Oklahoma girl. But when I called
she only talked about herself, her careers,
her degrees, her deep spirituality, her power
to literally make the sun come out whenever
she felt like it. I thought she was just
misusing the word "literally," as often happens,
but no, she meant it, and if I were younger
I’d have challenged her, but instead I just
got depressed, more depressed after the sex.
Better to be here with this miserable bitch
watching the clouds roll in. She’s leaning
against me now, and I can rest my chin on her head.
When dogs gaze out in the same direction
as you, sniffing the wind, they seem to know
the future. They don’t tell you when you’re
a volunteer, which got destroyed,
which got adopted. You just show up
and find different dogs in the cages.
— Douglas Goetsch
Reminds me of a skinny stray I saw at a gas station in Kansas City, on our way back from Vicksburg.