Communion      Home                  



Not the Dog

I’m not always the dog you want me to be
the quiet, nose your hand only when it’s empty
never up-end your double-clasped mug of tea
over the tan sofa and white carpet dog

I’m coming to your hands when they’re full
because your hands are always full
because the world is always full
of scribbled on calendars and beeping timers
for dinners in the ovens soufflés about to fall
or salmon almost touching the broiler coil
I can smell about to go carbon paper black

I wanted this to be about me but it’s about you
—another failure of mine like the stain by the door
when I forgot to take off my boots outside
because I’m not that dog you want because I’m not
the dog but a person

                                        and I can’t blame you
because you thought you lived with a person
and every day I’m dog not tail-wagging but dog
curling tail under self to hide all sign of dog

Gary Leising is the author of the book, The Alp at the End of My Street, from Brick Road Poetry Press (2014) as well as three poetry chapbooks. He lives in Clinton, New York, with his wife and two sons, and is Professor of English at Utica College.