‘The Dog Who Doesn’t Question’ and ‘Courting a Squid’

The Dog Who Doesn’t Question

Foolish faithful dog, here at my side, content
to bask in my masterly indifference. Your tail,
tick-tocking in advance of pats, keeps time
with a pointless fervour. Mouse-meek, your face
enquires: Am I good? A smile explodes at the touch
of hem on your hide, a cuff on the ear, like you know

the reproach is dealt with love; know
pack-politics is sacred law. The content
of your thought bears no such human touch.
Yet, as I tire of life outside, you tail
me to the door to sit, and wait, with face
pressed up to glass, framed like an old-time

portrait. And in that wistful pose, time-to-time,
I think I glimpse a soul who knows
there’s more to life than dumb desire. Face-to-face,
you at least remind me how to be content:
to be thankful. I approach the door—your tail
rejoices at master’s softer touch.

Breakfast crumbs vanish at the magic touch
of a nose, on command: Instinct stamped by time
immemorial or glimmer of civility? I ask, with tail-
chasing circularity: I know you don’t know you know
obedience entails trust—the freedom of one content
doing simply as she must. Why judge the needy face

ulterior or false? Would that I’d face
life so alert to the hot-cold touch
of true authority—moved by the plainer content
of my messy desires to spend given time
awaiting titbits at the heel of one who knows
secrets beyond my reckoning. So, at the tail

end of life, I think it safe to say, with tail
moved to stillness or tear-stricken face,
one of us will mourn the other—the man who knows
many reasons, or the dog who doesn’t question, in touch,
somehow, with “the other”. Foolish, faithful dog, time
will tell by what game or grace I sit at your side, content.

Meanwhile, good dog, unleash that tail as I touch
your face with mine. In your fashion, give thanks for time
together. Master knows your every need, so beg to your heart’s content.

J.A. Cooper

Courting a Squid

I see you rise from your dark world, the weed,
to hover, shadow-like, beyond my lure—
and inside feel some echo of your weird
propulsion, having drawn you from your lair.
A phantom, first you seem to come, then go,
return to touch then … shootaway … return
at last, your mind made up. I slow
the jag to make it dip. You wait, restrained …
then, eight arms splayed, you strike—
I have you now! Your clever suction foiled
by unanticipated barbs—my trick
against which, pointlessly, you strain and flail.
You jet me with your ink. I swear. But fate
has smiled on me, and doomed you to my plate.

J.A. Cooper



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