Issue 11.4 – Poetry

Issue 11 - Poetry (3)

            For Papa and Neve

 

My wife’s instructions upon moving out:

Put the old dog down, Chip.

I haven’t.

 

Today I shoveled snow, Neve followed,

decorating my path with piles of shit.

I did the math, she’s over seventy: my age.

 

She’s been the meanest dog we’ve had,

only nice to the family, only docile when curled beneath

the piano bench while my youngest daughter practiced.

 

Tucker was sweeter, smart enough to stay in the safety

of Neve’s outskirts until the day they fought

to blood.  After that he started biting.

 

The car that bumped her shoulder took away years,

but she built enough muscle for long walks

around the farm. All the while growling

at the horses, nipping at the ducks.

 

Her affinity towards running straight at cars

is still as strong as her stench.  And I can’t

chase after her anymore.

 

On Christmas morning two years ago, I woke to her

stomach bile sticky on the mudroom floor.

My kids cried, ready for a dead-dog holiday.

 

But she didn’t die, despite failing kidneys.

Instead she started barking

 

again, reminding us of when she was two,

shipped from North Carolina, so large

the kids demanded a “real” puppy.

 

We got Tucker three months later,

the scabs on his cropped ears still fresh.

She has already outlived him.

 

 

There are pictures of the two of them:

pitch black sheepdogs, herding

five children away from the road.


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Thea Engst is from Upstate NY and now lives in Somerville, MA where she works as a bartender. Thea has an MFA in writing Poetry from Emerson College. She has combined her love of writing with her love of alcohol in her nonfiction book “Drink Like A Bartender”, now available. Thea’s poetry can be found in “The Paragon Journal”, “SWWIM Every Day”, “Poets Reading the News”, “Up the Staircase Quarterly” and “Sugar House Review”. Her current projects include a series of unusual love poems and a WWII era novel based on the history of her name. Connect with her online and on Twitter as @thearobin and on Instagram as @engstythea
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