One of the things I’m striving for this summer is to write poetry more frequently and to revel in simple joys. And in this case, bathing a dog. If you’ve ever done it, you know firsthand that the experience certainly evokes all the senses, which means it’s crying out for poetry. Take 1 below.
How to Give Buster a Bath
Don’t bathe Finn first; he’ll see the hose
run behind the fish pond and cower
All nonchalance later, lifts a dry leg
here and there. Maybe you forgot.
No baby talk, no Buster-Wuster-Wuster
He knows it’s his turn, his own scent just right
sour-sweet musk of moldy orange, Sunday’s stroganoff
compost to you, truffles to a dog.
Even in surrender, you’ll crabwalk him by the collar
into the sun where the water won’t sting
rake your knuckles across trembling ribs,
coo, hope, now doesn’t that feel good?
Forget the 15-minute soak to kill the fleas
They’ll be back anyway, so make it quick, squirt
yourself so he’ll see that you can take it too but when it’s over
Swaddle him in lavender, cow-licked heart against yours
Don’t let him go until you feel the square-eyed nutmeg
gaze of forgiveness and watch him run, run, run
freed from a lengthy and undeserved jail term
snout in the air, cry-barking to his own god, Hallelujah.
~ Ashley Memory / June 14, 2016
What do you think? Here’s what the ultimate authority thinks.
Need I say more? He is NOT happy. So I sent it to my tough-as-nails-got-to-be-cruel-to-be-kind muse Mary, who concurred, echoing Buster’s own thoughts.