Today's poem is by Judith Skillman

The Dog House

In here again, head rubbing the ceiling
like another Alice who drank the wrong potion,
took too many pills of different colors,

I can feel with legs, my belly,
and the stoop in my back,
how long it will be before I'm let out

to breathe the pure scents of spring.
In here with nothing but that smell
of old carpet, sheets never washed,

the scrappy ball in a corner, I feel
yellow with age. A sepia print of myself,
and the guilt-stamps I collected

arrayed like tattoos across my chest,
where boobs hang. Once they were called
a rack. I call them boobs because I'm bad—

bad sleep, bad breath, bad with almost
everything I do. Befriending my owner—
that good? Playing fetch—

in how's what fashion
does it secure the surety of plenty?
Once I had a cornucopia of gifts,

and, puppy-like, others admired the place
I occupied in the world. They stared,
admired, openly seduced. The lake

seemed big when we'd row across
to the other side, where chalk cliffs
rose and time stretched like string

in water so clear you could lap it up
and it would never taint. Those days
are gone
—a phrase so trite I say it

in my dog voice. I practice saying it
over and over again, watching
ants wander the dirt floor. Cold

seeps in, the sun clips the horizon
doing what it always does, which is to say,
going down, as I sigh again, repulsed

by my own doggedness, my desire
to please, hating, as I settle in
for the long haul, the night where stars

glitter: treats I had bur couldn't keep,
jewels so obdurate they only exist
even now many light years away.

Copyright © 2016 Judith Skillman All rights reserved
from Hubbub
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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