A tough little dog born in L. A.,
you moved to the east coast
and grew up by the bay.
Jack Russell terrier who took shit
from none; wiry frame, fur like burlap,
sturdy legs built for digging;
a grave expression always on your
benign canine countenance
made by your overhanging
brow, rusty mustache, and wise
old man’s frown, like a four-legged
Mark Twain without the cigar,
black spots dappling your white suit.
You used to spend hours chasing
skunks, never escaped
getting sprayed. We’d pick you
up and plunk you in the big
soapstone sink, wash you off
with solution as you patiently
shivered, till we let you outside
where you’d shake yourself off,
using the grass as a towel.
You loved swimming after thrown
tennis balls, unafraid of the waves
or the turbulent surf. The game
didn’t end until you gave the signal,
lying down in the seaweed
and the sand with your prize
like a sphinx
ruminating on the world
you held in your paws.
Note: The author apologizes for the inadvertent semi-plagiarism of the title of the last post. There’s a book out now called The Secret Lives of Objects. In the event of a kerfuffle, I’d be more than happy to change the title of the poem to something else. In fact, from now on, let it be called just that: Something Else.