Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Dog Says

Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.
~Dave Barry

A poem today inspired by an exercise in The Crafty Poet by Diane Lockward.

The Dog Says
by Tabatha Yeatts

the dog says, you need
to go downstairs

she alternates
standing on her back legs
facing the door
and sitting, leaning forward
pointing her quivering nose at the knob

the pet rabbit
had the run of downstairs,
using the halls as a giant burrow

he savored carrots,
blankets, wrapping paper, and
sofa fabric...
the black bunny ruled
his den with iron teeth

if the door opens,
the dog will race down,
feet barely touching the stairs,
barking as if she were at the bottom
of a tree, alerting you
to a coon in the branches

she will watch the hall devotedly
for a rabbit who will not come,
whose sickness she smelled
in his last days, an odor that made her hide
in the bathroom as if his age
and decrepitude were her fault

he is gone but the memory
pulls her to the same spot
where she waits, nose trembling
as if the scent of hay and sweet black fur
surmounts all distances,
still reaching under the door.


Addendum: Thought maybe I should tell you the prompt, which was "The ________ said, you need."

Deowriter has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Jone!


Linda B said...

There are numerous ways you could have shown that that good black rabbit was gone, but the line "for a rabbit who will not come," is a brilliant stop in the poem, Tabatha. It made me read again. thinking, 'wait, is that what she's writing about?' I love the poem, feel sorry for the dog.

Linda Mitchell said...

Oh, my goodness. You surprised me! I was along for the ride of comedy and then....and then! I'm so sorry that the black rabbit is gone. I'm sorry that the dog still looks for his friend...couldn't handle the death. Like Linda B., I had to read this again. What a crafty poet YOU are. Well done with a complete story in this poem.

Janice Scully said...

Hi Tabatha! I too read this and it felt like a mystery, and your images, the dog barking as if at a tree and the urgency and longing for her friend really came through.

Carol Varsalona said...

Tabatha, your poem is a beautiful way to reflect on the friendship between two animals and bring us to a realization of death. I read through the poem several times and kept lingering on these lines: whose sickness she smelled
in his last days, an odor that made her hide
in the bathroom as if his age
and decrepitude were her fault

jama said...

I, too, was surprised by where your poem took me. Poignant overall, and so insightful about the bond between animals, how dogs have their own way of grieving.

Kay said...

Count me surprised, too. I did not see that twist of the black rabbit who will not come. Such a beautiful portrait of a friendship between animals.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

What a touching poem, T. The second to last stanza is heartbreaking. I guess the humans aren't the only ones missing Foo Foo. :(

laurasalas said...

Oh...I can't explain exactly why, but this poem makes me feel the connectedness of all of us. Beautiful.

author amok said...

That rabbit who will not come -- sob!

Michelle Kogan said...

Poor doggie, so hard to let go… Beautiful poem Tabatha, thanks!

Karen Eastlund said...

Tabatha: First, thank you for reminding me of Dave Barry. He always makes me laugh, and I had forgotten. I think I'll look for something by him again soon. And thanks for your poem. A loss remembered with the sense of smell is exactly how a dog would remember, I think. I'm sorry for your loss, missing that sweet black fur.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

What a touching reminder that our pets are connected to each other as well as to us. The end is especially moving.

Mary Lee said...

Like Jama, the word that immediately came to mind was poignant. Also, your craft is brilliant. said...

Such a beautiful poem--I love the beauty of seeing the death of the rabbit through the eyes/nose/point of view of the dog. So sweet and sad and touching.

Margaret Simon said...

I was totally taken in by this scene of dog running down the stairs after the rabbit and so you got me, as you did others, with the bunny gone. I love when poems make you think they are about one thing, but they are really totally something much deeper. Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Mordhorst said...

You don't need me to also appreciate this masterful, poignant poem...
but I do, I do.

Ruth said...

So good!

Jone said...

Oh my, it took such a turn, I read and reread it. Beautiful job. I need to find that book