DOG AT NIGHT
At first he stirs uneasily in sleep
And since the moon does not run off, unfolds
Protesting paws. Grumbling that he must keep
Both eyes awake, he whimpers; then he scolds
And, rising to his feet, demands to know
The stranger's business. You who break the dark
With insolent light, who are you? Where do you go?
But nothing answers his indignant bark.
The moon ignores him, walking on as though
Dogs never were. Stiffened to fury now,
His small hairs stand upright, his howls come fast,
And terrible to hear the bow-wow
That tears the night. Stirred by this bugle-blast,
The farmer's bitch grows active; without pause
Summons her mastiff and the hound that lies
Three fields away to rally to the cause.
And the next county awakes. And miles beyond
Throats tear themselves and brassy lungs respond
With threats, entreaties, bellowings and cries,
Chasing the white intruder down the skies.
Who/what is your best friend, your BFF? Person, place or pet? Is it true that dogs are our best friends? Or maybe it's your addiction: TV, food—or (cynic that I am) booze or cigarettes? Tell us about your best friend for our Seed of the Week: Best Friends, and send poems, photos and artwork to email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. I'll start with one of mine:
MY BEST FRIEND'S VOICE
chases me down
the sidewalk: ball-
the concrete, the shop-
window mirrors, down-
town brick facades: pops
and rattles and pingpongs as
she calls my name:
two circinate syllables
lifted in the air to fly
after me: pudgy, hollow,
round little sounds
the street: chasing after
me, turning my head:
pulling me back like
a ball on a string: calling my
name, drawing me
unmistakable music of
my best friend’s voice…
—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines
The cats have gone off to hunt. Last winter
They were human, dozing beside the woodstove,
Rubbing against my leg, yawning, stretching,
Claws nicking the carpet.
But they no longer answer my call
To come in at night. They are gone
And stay away for days.
Something wild has entered into them
That is the dark, that is
Not us, that is what they were like
Before we agreed to be friends.
A DOG IN SAN FRANCISCO
Sitting in an empty house
with a dog from the Mexican Circus!
O Daisy, embrace is my only pleasure.
Holding and hugging my friends. Education.
A wave of eucalyptus. Warm granite.
These are the things I have in my heart.
Heart and skills, there's nothing else.
I usually don't like small dogs but you
like midwestern women take over the air.
You leap into the air and pivot,
a diver going up! You are known
to open the fridge and eat when you wish
you can roll down car windows and step out
you know when to get off the elevator.
I always wanted to be a dog
but I hesitated
for I thought they lacked certain skills.
Now I want to be a dog.
—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento
Chubby little foot,
struggling to reach that first step,
stair stepping through life.
At the end,
still off-balance . . .