Today we recognize contemporary American poet, Kim Dower, who teaches Poetry Workshops at Antioch University in Los Angeles. See https://www.antioch.edu/faculty/kim-dower/ and https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/kim-dower
Today’s dog poem comes from her award-winning 2019 book Sunbathing on Tyrone Power’s Grave:
Naming the Puppy
by Kim Dower
They’re young and in love
so they think of human names:
Zoe, Ruby, Judy — like the name
of a girl you’d sit next to in math.
They move on to dog baby names,
Lamby, Girl, Puppy.
They like Puppy so for an hour,
that’s what she’s called.
Come here, Puppy, they sing,
her paws — pink, tender — slide
across the room. Puppy’s a sweet name,
I tell them, but soon your puppy
won’t be a puppy, and when she hurtles
through the park her teeth locked
onto a sloppy stick, a pit bull chasing her down,
how’ll it sound when you call, Puppy, Puppy,
your voices airy as frisbees floating
across the grass. I watch the puppy lick
my son’s lips, nibble his girlfriend’s nose,
devour their faces, as if they were made of sugar,
devoted fur ball all ears and eyes,
eyes that have been on this earth before.
By dinnertime her name is Gwen,
a star’s name, a nurse’s, or what you’d call
the middle child of a noisy family.
I watch Gwen pour herself
into their arms. There is no name
for the way she loves them.
No name for a sun that shines only for you.
My humble homage haiku: Shining for You
God, I love your smile
and the way you snuggle in
any time of day