Pet Excuses

by Joan Mazza

Stay the night, he whispers, fingers clasping my wrist.

I have to go. The dogs can’t be alone.
They’re safe in your garage.
I pull myself from his grip, put my clothes
back on, already listing regrets on my mental ledger.

He comes up behind me, his breath on my neck.
Pets are like having children. Better to be free.
Depends on what you want to be free from.

Before I’m out his door, I extract my keys from my
purse, eager to be in my own bed.

My welcome home is raucous.

We wag our tails, then settle in, share feather pillows,
Bambi against my back, Razzmatazz curled
in the well behind my knees.

Copyright 2015, Joan Mazza

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and seminar leader. Author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), her poetry has appeared in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, Buddhist Poetry Review, and The Nation. Joan ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art.

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