Dog (Poem)


From 100 yards away the neighbor’s dog howls in the night.  I don’t know how they sleep–I sure am not sleeping.  For extended periods he barks, a deep bellowing boom.  Though I am enjoying the cool night air of early Summer, I have to shut the windows and shove orange plugs into my ears to block out the noise.  It would be silly (I find myself thinking) to call Animal Control–this is the country, after all.  And I am too fearful to confront them.  After months and months, the dog moved away.  I’m sure he was a dutiful dog, but it was not a tearful parting.


The neighbor’s dog—
an underachieving, if dramatic,
German Shepherd—
has a great deal to say
most nights, at 01:13, or 04:22, or 05:41.
Whatever the time,
he appears to want devotedly
for me to hear
as he booms out his message,
repeating it, several times,
just to make sure.

I wonder how he knows that
I am awake at the moment
he chooses for his pedantic delivery.
He must know, surely,
that I can be found in my room
at these times, supine,
relaxed, and suddenly attentive.

It is possible, I suppose, that
he isn’t speaking to me at all,
but to other area residents—
last week I trapped an adolescent skunk
and a medium-sized raccoon—
I caught the neighbor’s tabby cat,
too, but after kicking the trap
ten turns in the grass
and tossing it to land with a clatter,
I doubt the tom’ll come back
right away—maybe
the dog is chastising this string
of invading varmints,
a preacher from his doghouse pulpit
in some great animal under-the-stars revival,
an Awakening of dogs and critters,
with me a mere insolent eavesdropper.

I think I will shut the window, now,
stretch back under the sheets,
insert earplugs,
and mind my own business.

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