Daily Archives: October 23, 2007

name him like a man

burly yellow mottled black brown red hairy dogs
covered in dust and old pizza sauce
sleep in the vacant lots like coyotes
and i grow pawprints in my garden

i have a red brick fence
two orange trees that never sprout oranges
evergreen hedges that are usually brown
also, tomato plants and rose bushes wane by my air conditioner
where i kneel each week over dirt and weeds
and paw prints are all I grow

i don’t know how the dogs get in my yard
i have to keep my trash in an air lock
i keep my small children inside after dark
my husband walks the fence and positions
stones in the crevices like chess pieces
when i can’t sleep, i sit in the window box
stare into my dark garden,
wait for the dogs to show themselves
i never see them

when i’m driving home from work
i see those vagrants walking somewhere
they don’t look me in the eye
they must be angry at all of us humans
ruining their territory with stones and gardens
they don’t seem to know what to do about us.

my family, we’ll adopt our own growling sentinel
we’ll plant his little house near the garden
he’ll sleep in the laundry room on dirty clothes
he’ll jump through a floppy dog door to piss his turf
he’ll piss off my neighbors with his shouts
when he dies, we’ll bury him under an orange tree
he’ll haunt my children’s memories with blurry
photographs of fur bolting away like a dream warrior

i’ll name him like a man.

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