Wanting a Puppy

and knowing better.

And still wanting it.

I resort to walking alone

to the dog park.

I borrow children’s stuffed animals

and ask them to play pretend.

I try to convince friends with dogs

to go on vacation where they can’t take their dogs.

I keep myself from animal shelters.

You nuzzle it, you buy it.

Learning to Be Gentle with Yourself

is like walking the pointer pup I would borrow
when I needed to not be my own master.

His habit of reassembling trees branch by lost branch,
needing to drag each one in his mouth.

Sniffing out anything that could be surprised.

Chasing whatever he could make move.

While I wanted to drag him the quick route home.

“Gentle,” I would tell him. “Gentle, Gus.”