Leashes, or why it’s okay to place berets on dogs


He liked to pursue squirrels;
she preferred to chase cars.

She awoke every day to the sunrise
with barks that would wake
her human companions (and the neighbors besides)
to take her outside and share the daylight.
He stayed up until midnight and would
only poke his head from underneath a blanket
if awoken by a human foot or The Daily Show.

She peed daintily;
squatting regally in a spot
away from traffic to relieve herself.
She would keep her feet clear
of the stream so she wouldn’t track
yellow footprints around the neighborhood.

He, on the other hand, would find fire-hydrants
in the most inconvenient locations
to take care of business.
Especially spigots that firemen had their hands on.
He wanted all the other dogs to know
where he’d been walking,
and whether he stole table scraps
laced with asparagus the evening before.

He, with a beret in the summer months
and scarf in the winter and
she, always wearing red to bring out
the color of her snout,
were meant for each other.

Each day they walked to a boulangerie,
leading their masters by the leash
to take in the scents of the bakery
and maybe partake in a baguette if they were lucky.

But there is very little in life like bedtime stories,
and the two dogs never met
for their masters kept them on different paths,
passing like kites in the wind
that never get to sniff each other’s
rear ends.

P.S. this poem was inspired by a drawing contest I had with one of my students. We each had a minute to speed sketch a French dog; why she came up with that idea I’ll never know, but here’s a question for all of you…whose is better (the top: A or bottom: B)?

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