Therapy Dog

by Phil Estes


These girls tie a pit-bull
To one of the pillars of their house.

His eyes are red and sort of jaundiced—
Not angry like pictures of fight dogs.

I won’t pet him because I learned:
Pit-bulls kill and piss on prey,

But this dog seems all right. He wags,
Keeps his mouth shut and stretches.

His brown and white jaw locks shut; not like
The mouths of chatty people.

Not like yappy dogs with eyes
Like marble-smashers. Those eyes

Spin at every target. The tongues that wave like purple flags
In used car lots or at the funerals of civic leaders.

If this pit-bull wore a bowler hat and a v-neck
At the card table, like in a famous painting,

I’d talk to him. No rumors from him—
This pit-bull probably reads Camus.

Won’t rip the throats out of people because he knows
He can rip the throats out of people.


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