The Forbearance of Dogs

by Rebecca Newth

He puts up with so much,
            and here I am not being facetious,
the dirt on his coarse spine
            my attempts to pick off a flea
                        in his intimate place
the Frontline, the Capstar, the wire brush,
                        the bath,
also my going away,
            a ‘selfish vacation’.
He sits at the gate and
            turns his head so as not to watch.
Hey that’s no way to say goodbye!
            Nights alone in the house he hears a door
or thunder, cannon,
the cats’ fight.
I saw once the fear, more than once.
Of all that dogs have to endure,
            tied up, slammed shut,
hungry enough to eat a coil of rubber,
Dear Reader,
            there is no peace,
nothing
until I return.