What Happens When You Teach a Dog to Speak

I wrote this poem not so long ago, and it’s been published in the most recent issue of The Journal of New Jersey Poets, which will be released in May. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I enjoy my dog.


What Happens When You Teach a Dog to Speak

I’m eating lunch outside
on a perfect spring day
when my dog pokes her head under my arm
and says,
       Let’s go to the park and memorize poems.

I tell her I can recite poems just fine
right from where we are.
I start with Nye’s Art of Disappearing,
but the first stanza has already vanished
from my memory.

She jumps onto the chaise lounge,
and in my face with earnest says,
       Pack some books in a bag, and let’s go.

She has my attention so she continues.
       You can read out loud to your favorite trees—
       the cedar and the beech—
       brush up on the poems you’ve forgotten.
       Commit to something new and fresh.

       And in the vast field, I’ll memorize my poems—
       the thousand scents between the blades of grass,
       the flight of the white butterfly,
       the drift of dog bones across the sky.

       When I have it all down pat,
       I’ll lay down beside you on the blanket,
       the striped one you keep
       in the trunk of the car,  just for us.



A poem a day for April


2 thoughts on “What Happens When You Teach a Dog to Speak

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s