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This poem was inspired by a conversation with my two sisters, both of whom remember a dog of whom I have no recollection. This version of the poem benefits from the feedback of BG and her group, and of JH and JG.
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THE DOG I DON’T REMEMBER
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My two younger sisters swear that he was real: Ralph
a large brown mixed-breed hound, the alpha
who like a frontier marshal came from who-knows-where
and kept to his own counsel, his name a local fable.
On random summer days he came lumbering down Rugby Road,
other pets watching from their stoops — our own mutt Spunky,
the sweet collie Cindy next door, the howling beagle Holly.
They stayed clear of him out of a pecking-order respect
or cowardice or well-bred sense. He made his solitary way
past all the houses, swing sets, and elms, never stopping
at the corner of Brookview and Hays, then left
for other parts of town, free to roam alone.
No lady hound would ever claim him, give him puppies.
My sisters still keep his ramblings in their stories
from nearly forty years ago. And I have given up,
out of a love for that pre-leash world we came from,
any will to pin the truth to the pavement.
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by Therese L. Broderick
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