The Dog Star

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Martine Roch

Here is the promised continuation of the Dog Days of August poems with dogs in them! Click on each poet’s name to see her or his solo poetry feature here at Escape Into Life. The mixed media art is by Martine Roch.

Peg Duthie 


The dog trots in,
white blobs on her back
that hadn’t been there
when we let her out.
It’s almost midnight —
it shouldn’t be paint
or bird poop — oh!
she’s fresh from romping
under the honeysuckle!
That thicket of sweetness
we did not plant
and do not clip
for our vases or bouquets –
we’re laughing at how
it’s decorating our mutt,
and how delight
insists on finding us,
no messenger too mundane.

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Joe Wilkins 

Sunday in Sunflower, Mississippi

Flies throw themselves crazily at the rotting
unstrung wall of blackberries. On cypress stumps
Chip and Shotgun drop their after-dinner-bellies
down. Curse the bitch dog her hungry thrashing pups.
Porch across the way old Mrs. Tole cracks pecans
shakes her silver head. Says Shotgun you’re fat
and dumb as that stump. Says Ole Miss won last night
but the Baptists still didn’t dance. Oh well their kids
did. Chip’s little boy runs up from the river stops
tucks up under his chin the fronttail of his t-shirt
pisses on an oak. Mrs. Tole’s old lips whistle-flap.
Little boy stares hard turns and runs like he doesn’t
understand anything but what the river says. Mrs. Tole
chortle-coughs wipes her filmy eyes. Says those Saturday
boys broke into Lewis’s Store last night. Won’t have to see
them grin no more on the corner all day how they just
sit there like lashings of floodwood that ain’t no way
to be. Bitch dog rises up. Barks her foolhead off
for no reason anyone not anyone can see.

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Paul Hostovsky 


Once out walking
with my dog in the woods,
I stopped beneath a birch tree
to pee. And before I was halfway done
he came bounding up beside me,
assumed the position, and peed
in sympathy. That’s when it dawned on me—
the good stuff, too, is contagious.
The yawns, the laughter, the hard-ons,
and all the manifold sweet
release. It was just the two of us
out there in the wilderness,
sharing the joy, the sacred
stream across species, and it felt like
a scientific discovery, or maybe
a spiritual one, a kind of linking
or wedding there beneath the white
sleeves of that birch tree
blessing us. Our separate runnels ran
past my shoe and his hind paw,
then joined together farther downhill,
farther downstream, as we both leaned
forward, each toward his own brief
relief, voiding there on that little
patch of earth pushing up above the great
Void. And when it was done, I gently
shook myself and zipped up
and patted his bony head,
and he took off running
through the understory, and I
continued on my solitary way
through the world, feeling
more connected than ever
to the great chain of things.

(originally published in Spillway)

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Aaron Anstett 

Atoms in their Orbits

The particulars of remembering, spray
of water beyond the singularity of its gravity-
defying thrust, color of carpet hairs

under fingernails, or screech of laughter
one hotel hallway at an ice machine’s
languid rumbling, or the house of my childhood

haunted by what menace, mysterious
injuries. Gingerly, the wind, with hints
of vanilla, tobacco, wet stone, continues

over whatever Texas road down which a thin
dog falters, brothel, your skin,
public wall on which hand-scrawled messages appear,

grass seldom slept on well or long, skeleton
in the mountains after the thaw, glass
shattered on asphalt, many glittering windows.

(originally appeared in Court Green)

Martine Roche, cat by the sea, for-La-Marelle

Christina Lovin 


She brings them to me
empty. Drops a bowl
at my feet—the blue plastic one
when she is thirsty and has licked it dry;
the small white porcelain dish
with a silly painted frog inside,
emptied of kibble.

Her eyes expect.

She eats.
Runs off to fetch a toy,

She knows more than I do
of want,
of need,

of emptiness.


For more poems with dogs in them by EIL poets, check out the Dog Days feature from last week.

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