I have caught a dog: A poem

Smiling dog
Rachel Gregory/Staff

even before my 2008 Honda Accord

turns into the driveway,

her excitement is palpable,

her paws pounding

onto our screen door.

 

I used to fancy it as

a symbol of her affection,

but at the end of the day,

telling her I love her is

meaningless.

I still do.

 

I stare as deeply as I can

into her eyes every morning

and tell her those three holy words,

because I cannot say them

to my grandmother —

at least when my dog does not respond

it is because she cannot.

 

no, she becomes excited

because I am something.

she must latch onto me,

because her confinement within my house

calls for a lack of adventure.

 

and behind her look of excitement,

when I stare deeply into her eyes,

I see the death of a wild soul,

one forced to be content

with the rubbing of her stomach.

 

and her empty eyes

haunt me

now that I have realized that

she and I are the same.

 

man and animal can coexist,

but not in this suburban hell

that satisfies neither.

not with this compromise

of instinct and passion

for stability and comfort.

 

she should want to run for the hills

instead of being chained to a stake

in her half-acre plot.

 

she should want to catch rabbits

instead of begging for treats

as a means of sustenance.

 

I should want those things, too.

I should want something.

 

what has happened to our wild souls?

Contact Rachel Gregory at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @rakechill.