Today's poem is by Cathryn Essinger

Why Dogs Tell Stories

She stands at the end of the driveway
barking, Books in the mail, books in the mail,
and for once in her life she is right.

I take the package from the postman and
try to explain that sometimes she tells
lies, such as Credenza on fire,

or Rats on the roof, all harmless
of course. You can tell by the way
she rolls her eyes that these stories

are meant to keep us on our toes,
unlike her more earnest reports
of Kids on wheels, and Woman I know,

or the long rolling rumble that comes
from her chest when she announces
trucks in the street or men in the yard.

But, on winter nights when all I hear
is wind, dead leaves circling in the drive,
the house settling on its haunches,

and she growls from her blankets,
a gravely monosyllable, and will not
be still, I suspect the truth behind

all of her lies. There are always
strangers in the street, an unrelenting
darkness, separation from the things

that we love, and despite all of the tales
that she has told, I know, in truth,
she has never told a lie,

even as she settles her head
into a restless sleep and grumbles,
Bolts in the bowl; Bolts in the bowl.

Copyright © 2007 Cathryn Essinger All rights reserved
from The National Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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