“Dog Sitting in Snow” by Matthew J. Spireng

Matthew J. Spireng


A black Lab, or, from a moving car at a distance, a mutt
that looks like a black Lab, is sitting in the last remnants
of snow in a field near a country house facing away
from the house. It could be a statue in a field except

its head moves a little as I drive past. It appears to be
looking off into the distance, surveying the far reaches
of neighboring fields for anything that might be there
that would interest it, though it does not have the look

of a dog that will run off and chase what it sees.
It is as if it is waiting for whatever might approach,
perhaps guarding, prepared to bark or growl or
wag its tail depending on what, or who, comes near.

It also might be just enjoying the last of the snow
left from winter, a dog, like my dog, that likes
snow, eats it as a human eats a refreshing Italian ice,
and that is now pondering the change of seasons.

Likely, after I have gone, a human will call
from the door of the house and the dog will reluctantly
rise from its musings and return to the house
where it will find food and companionship,

but none of the smells that come with the end of winter
and beginning of spring, and, though its ties to the house
are strong, it may, if dogs are as smart as they
sometimes seem, consider what might have been.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015
Tribute to Scientists


Matthew J. Spireng: “Back when I started out as a mathematics major at Clarkson College of Technology (now Clarkson University) before graduating with a BS in mathematics in 1969, I wasn’t thinking at all about writing poetry. But then, in the summer of 1968, life changed for me as I learned for the first time at age 21 that I was adopted, and, shocked into using the other half of my brain, I began to write poetry. My mathematical bent affects my poetry, though. My work is often structured and almost always follows a logical progression.”

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