after Michael Blumenthal's "Some Nights at Thirty":
A Pack of Dogs
Some days you are the St. Bernard in Acton
who gobbled my thigh into his lion-size jaw.
Some days you are Amy’s two guard dogs
who squeeze through rusty wire openings to chase me.
Some days you are the German Shepherd
who tried to make mincemeat of my grandchildren.
Some days you are the barking yellow mutt
who barreled down the Vermont slope at midnight
into a trash can instead of me pedaling away.
Some days you are my dog Brownie
who Mom had euthanized for puking squirrel guts
onto the living room rug.
Some days you are my first Golden Retriever
who nipped mailmen and was sold to a man with sheep.
Some days you are the dog I gave up along with my husband
in 1973, telling you both I’d had enough,
hearing you crossed the highway under the wheels of a truck.
Some days you are Jock the Dalmation who hauls my red wagon
around the backyard and lets me ride bareback.
Some days you are Bonnie the Collie who sang as I practiced piano
and doubled up as a pillow while I watched TV.
And some days, me retired and happily married
to a man who says: no dogs, they’re smelly, you suggest
I might outlive him and need a new partner,
you wonder if a Standard Poodle or a Chocolate Lab
might be my best choice out of so many.