If one’s dog were the embodiment of one’s soul,
mine is this off-putting, snippish hermaphrodite.
Nobody knows but she how impossible is the moon’s stillness.
Nobody can follow a trail with as much snoutish superiority.
Her story is that of a ship battered on a wild coast
whose crew washes up on a beach and christens it Paradise.
With such small paws my selfless soul issues forth,
protectress of any sand where my shadow might pass.
She argues and assails and quivers endlessly as if
a reunion with the double were imminent, long lost stray
and careless litter-mate who bolted downwind after
an unpleasant-looking seagull and never came home.
She is gigantic in her own so-called mind, a thing
itself like my own half-perceiving skeptic’s chamber pot,
boiled in its impotence, impaired by mere mortal blindness.
She is that noble eminence I see every day in the mirror,
much too self-consoled to need any smoothing hand
along my hackles, fur raised in an instant to protect you
who so kindly has a biscuit in your pocket even now if I behave.
Copyright 2016, Michael Daley
Michael Daley recently published his fourth collection of poetry, Of a Feather. His work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. He lives in Anacortes, Washington.