By J.K. McNeilly
walking this gravel road,
keep a stick always in hand, a green stick
that will not snap,
because under every porch
lay a scrawny, desperate dog
for a reason to protect its master’s hate.
When these dogs spring at you, stand
your ground, stare, spit
and show them the stick.
Watch them turn and crawl again under the porch.
Show them kindness and you will lose a hand.
I know this
because I lived in a mean house with a dog,
which died finally,
starved to death
because I could no longer remember
how to feed it.