“A Poem about Not about Getting a Dog” by Gary Greene

Gary Greene


I should get a dog,
an unwitting but willing
emotional support animal,
but what if,
outside one day,
just working in the yard,
I have a horrible chainsaw accident
and die
and he (or she)
is in the house
maybe because I let her (or him) sleep in,
for example,
and no one finds my stupid, legless body for days
and he (or she)
is hungry
and frightened
and alone,
barking at my stupid, dead, legless body
from a window,
if I’m even within sight of a window;
“Get up! Let me out!”
Bark bark!
“I need to pee! I want to play dead, too!”
Bark bark bark!
“Where’s my ball? Are you lying on my ball?”
and in the meantime he (or she)
has to drink from the toilet?
I should get a dog,
but what if I became attached
and I don’t have
a horrible chainsaw accident,
but one day he (or she)
seems a little off,
so we go to the vet
and the vet says,
“There’s nothing I can do.
If only you’d brought her (or him) in yesterday
instead of working in your stupid yard.”
and I have to put him (or her)
and stand there,
helpless yet again,
and watch her (or him)
as I’ve stood and watched so many,
too many,
in my life
leaving me more frightened
and alone,
even more broken,
hungry for companionship,
which is why I got him (or her)
in the first place.
Then what would I do?
Get a dog?

from Rattle #80, Summer 2023


Gary Greene: “I lost my wife of 40 years in 2018 to an undiagnosed disease. So, I began to write. Everything I write is directly or tangentially about loss. It helps.” (web)

Rattle Logo