She takes it in her teeth and gestures at the door—
a stomp of the paw,
affectionate nip at the hand or scratch at the doorknob;
so much to go through to get the walk,
to nose fresh air or scent of a Labrador,
mark her place among the hedgerow.
And if she could pull a little this way
turn the corner to the big green park
where she runs with other dogs.
Sad, I'm not like her, pulling on the leash—
trying to get ahead,
pay my damn rent for once without gnawing a meatless bone.
A week now, and nothing but dry food.
I stomp my paw.
They say bad dog and pat me on the head.
I roll over, lie on my back.
Who will know how it is to bark
alone in an empty house,
so lost and far away from the pack?
Lisa Breger is a poet, writer and educator. In 2015 she was a finalist for the Barbara Deming Memorial Grant and the runner-up for the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a Wayland Cultural Council Grant and is using it to establish a Poetry Garden along Lake Cochituate. Lisa is an Assistant Professor of English at Pine Manor College and Director of the Undergraduate English and Creative Writing Program. She is also a Certified Dog Massage Therapist and owner of Canine Massage Works. She lives in Wayland, Massachusetts with her wife Anne Parker and their English Setter, Macy Mae.