A golden retriever has been hired
to pose with the author for the photograph
on her book jacket. The author rests one hand
on the head of the dog leaning against her leg;
the dog seems to be lifting his head
into this touch, lending the author his warmth
and easy charm, making the author seem like
someone you would want to drink coffee with
on a porch some morning as the sun was rising;
makes her book seem like one you might
not be able to put down some Autumn night
when what you really need is sleep.
In truth, the author’s sleeve smells so
enticingly of cat, the dog can barely
restrain himself from leaping.
In truth, the author doesn’t like dogs,
doesn’t like to touch dogs, can’t wait
to wash her hands, to go home, to exchange
the stiff jeans and borrowed leather jacket
for her pink chenille bathrobe
with appliquéd teapots for pockets.
She will curl up on the couch in front of the tv
while a cross-eyed Siamese prowls the house
yowling, marking the door frames.
And the dog – he will curl up on his own couch
the other side of the city, where he can snuffle
and twitch, dreaming of rabbits.
© by Pat Hale.
Used with the author’s permission.