Dogs

by Aaron Kramer

Looking foolish next to the tree in a one o’clock rain:
umbrella aloft, the leash in my other hand—
I wanted my late-coming neighbor to understand
that dogs are worth the expense, inconvenience, and pain;

their tails are truthful, no coiled rebellion beneath
a loving look; they are quick to kiss you, and quick
to fetch for you, and —should you raise a stick
threateningly—they are quick to show their teeth;

and better still (but this I never revealed),
when you bring downfall home, the death of a hope,
their nonchalant manner does more for you than a drink;
and best of all, when triumph’s to be unsealed,
such lack of respect they show for the envelope,
—your fingers halt, the brain cools, and you think.

“Dogs” by Aaron Kramer, from Wicked Times. © University of Illinois Press, 2004. Reprinted with permission

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