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Christopher J. Grasso

Rookie (4-14-76 / Voorhees, NJ)

The Keeper Of The Beast And Chestnut

Little fingers rattle the cage of the mysterious union of boy and dog
A dog filled with an empty stomach but full of ringworms
My new dog, whom I urged to pet, but was scolded - he might bite
My dog covered with filth like the chimney smoke of silt, released in the Industrial Age refineries
Whose sad bark translated to: I’m a water-dog, purify me! Purify my soul!
That water being an angel brushing off the graining tombstone of what once was
My dog, a polished broad pup, sloppily wet but content
Whose coat was itchy but clean from concentrated dish detergent
Who was wondering of his new surroundings,
and strange new noises to bark loudly at, in the night
Whose vet trips and vitamins pumped him to an enormous size
Whose runs in the yard became Indian midget trails
My dog, the dumb one, who would see-saw with me
Who would slide down the sliding board, like a rambunctious child, head first
Who loved to bite through things except my arm, shoved into his jaws, as a test he always passed
Whose claws were raptor sharp, and provided the dirt digging ability to escape into neighbor’s plots
My dog, who outweighed me by fifty pounds and made sure strangers knew this before they reached the front step
My dog, black haired, a thick virgin forest of midnight, streaming and shedding in the summer time
Whose lapping pink fleshed tongue in such a hot day, would yearn for his bucket of water
Whose chest muscles were defined like the promontory coastlines of North and South Carolina
Who understood that I would eventually come home after grade school, pleased to be in his presence too
My dog, the chain snapper, the car chaser, the wood eater, the newly layered sod displacer
My dog with flaws, disobedient like me, unwilling to take orders
My dog, prone to be whacked with the paper on his rump, the thud of a beefy drum smacked on an indifferent animal
My dog, a friend, never capable of backstabbing for a percentage
My dog, who lived with me, then sent to live on a farm, I know had even I better life than I could give him

Submitted: Sunday, February 07, 2010

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