Poetry - Issue 16 | October 2012

Dog Years

by Katharine

Dog Years

When I’m home, she follows me floor to floor
Without complaint, lugging fifteen year-old bones,
Settling once she knows again where we are.
Now I’m gone, she lies by the front door

Watching through the glass for my car.
I have never seen this—but I know when
I open the door at last, she’ll be there. 
My husband recounts by satellite phone the hours

She lay there today, rising only to make sure
I hadn’t sneaked back in while she was asleep
Or to watch him fill her bowl, then not eat.
Every minute you’re gone feels like forever,

He says, his voice travelling all the way
To space and back before it reaches me.

About the author

Katharine Coles has returned home from Shanghai just long enough to pay bills, do laundry, and repack. Her fifth collection,The Earth Is Not Flat (Red Hen 2013), was written under the auspices of the NSF’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. In 2009-10, she served as the Inaugural Director of the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute. She is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow for 2012-13.

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