for Tippy Biscuit Browning
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
My best friend never human is a dog:
what’s commonplace about that? She knows, she knows
to nose for food and wield teeth like a hand,
to dig and kick with stubborn hind feet a bog,
a right bone-burying bog albeit no leg
stripped of its chicken ever wound up below
her topsoil scrabbles in strata of hardpan.
No water dish but she pinks out the dregs
with licks. She guards rugworn perimeters,
harries with indignant nips our cats.
A zealous overseer of the kitchen chair,
from which perch she originates bitter spats
with puppy siblings—yet altimeters
fail to clock the height to which will reach
my feelings for her apricot and white peach
when fresh and cockapoo-trim in all her nap,
dog paw draped over man-hand, she fits my lap.
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole
For even as love crowns you so shall
he crucify you. Even as he is for your
growth so is he for your pruning.
—Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet
Yesterday she sat by a pond
she believed had never reflected
a crown more glorious.
Today, Kahlil, love prunes her
down to size. A swift river
swallows photos, flowers, poems,
sweeps away her crown. Prophet,
world, time, she whispers,
no one can crucify me but myself.
—Samuel Coleridge, from Youth and Age