“This Poem” by Susan Trofimow

Susan Trofimow


This poem is a dog
that shits all over your house.
This poem is the shit
you find ground in your carpet.
This poem is you
abandoning the dog
on the side of the road
where you found him.
Free! This poem is the road
as you drive away,
but then your car stalls out
in traffic, and suddenly  
you miss the dog—
his company on the couch.           
And you feel
that old bone he’s buried 
in the hollow of your chest.
And you imagine 
him back home, nose pressed 
to the sliding glass, 
tail wagging when you let him in. 
Oh, how that beast will leap 
and bound across the carpet, 
laying himself down
an inch from where you started.

Prompt: “This prompt came from a workshop with Peter Campion: ‘I’d like you to write a poem no longer than twenty-five lines in which the speaker relates an encounter with an animal. The only other guidelines are that the poem should contain one sentence that’s five lines or longer, and one sentence that’s an interjection, exclamation, oath, or swear.’”

from Rattle #81, Fall 2023
Tribute to Prompt Poems


Susan Trofimow: “To be honest, I wouldn’t say I enjoy writing prompts. Often, I read one and my mind goes blank! But if I continue, and something clicks, I find myself writing poems I would have never imagined otherwise. Prompts challenge you. They focus you. They give you a net to shoot for and the chance, sometimes, to have some fun.”

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