Dog Guilt

I woke thinking

of you, dog, Tiller Scoocum.

, glad you’re ours, glad we saved you at three-years-ago shelter.  

your fur is like parking lot’s painting all velvet, fine looking under the right light.

of you, Tilly.

your ears need more scratching.

of too much stop barking and always keep wagging.

of leashes, dog parks and canine kisses, not of diapers, laundry and children’s books.

of beach days, tennis balls in the waves and fetch along the shore.

hot sandy paws and little lady giggles with driftwood thrown along the shore.

like so many mamas with dog guilt.

, dreaming about summer.

of you, a poem and a poet.


by Billy Collins

The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her dog house
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.

Who provides a finer example
of a life without encumbrance—
Thoreau in his curtainless hut
with a single plate, a single spoon?
Ghandi with his staff and his holy diapers?

Off she goes into the material world
with nothing but her brown coat
and her modest blue collar,
following only her wet nose,
the twin portals of her steady breathing,
followed only by the plume of her tail.

If only she did not shove the cat aside
every morning
and eat all his food
what a model of self-containment she would be,
what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager
for a rub behind the ears,
so acrobatic in her welcomes,if only I were not her god.

“Dharma” by Billy Collins, from Sailing Alone Around the Room. © Random House, 2002. 


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