Thursday, March 5, 2015

Kelly McQuain reads 'First Dog': 'Let loose, mother-free'

Kelly McQuain reads 'First Dog': 'Let loose, mother-free'


First Dog


First hot day of spring, a yellow Lab

in the park rubs himself wild against new grass

—first back, then front, then


back again—drunk with panting pleasure,

unabashed as only dogs can be. Or little boys,

this one a toddler still,


discovering first dog. His? No.

Yes? Let loose, mother-free, he totters close,

promise of golden pleasure


equal or more than the dog’s self-scratch,

sniff of flower, whiff of squirrel, scent of dogs just passed.

Always been afraid before,


mother tells walker in a language

neither of boys nor dogs, left to invent their own

wordless words. I watch


muzzle nudge answer stumble-step, lick

ignite laughter, tug of flappy ears get questioned—Woof?

This communion cut short


by the inevitable No, no, no, dog

pulled back and boy’s hand enveloped inside mother’s

to practice gentle re-approach,


careful pat, when all boy wants is a rush

of furry, welcoming four-legged monster—a union of worlds

of mutual wonder.


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