Vincent Guerra


Dogs and children stare—they
are allowed. Dogs wait
outside like children.
They wait in the car
trying to keep upbeat. They lift
their heads for love, for
their happy bodies
to be touched again. Some dogs
have haircuts from the 1980s.
Some dogs are always
smiling, like Jan
from work. A dog knows
how not to press, not to live a life
he doesn’t really want. This dog
smiles and shivers
in the shadowed doorway, the profile
of his head, a monument. In glass bricks
that kaleidoscope the street, he
is myriad. How
do we account
for the constant suffering
and agitation of dogs?
Their chemistry
at birth, or their submission?
But we, too,
find ourselves suddenly
abandoned and feel
like lying down again
in the sun-warmed street.

Vincent Guerra grew up in northern California and currently resides in Tallahassee, FL, where he teaches writing and edits poetry for Juked. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Boston Review, The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, FIELD, Washington Square, and Crazyhorse, among other journals.

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