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Today's Inspiration & Writing Prompt


My Dog Practices Geometry

by Cathryn Essinger

I do not understand the poets who tell me

that I should not personify. Every morning

the willow auditions for a new role

outside my bedroom window—today she is

Clytemnestra; yesterday a Southern Belle,

lost in her own melodrama, sinking on her skirts.

Nor do I like the mathematicians who tell me

I cannot say, "The zinnias are counting on their

fingers," or "The dog is practicing her geometry,"

even though every day I watch her using

the yard's big maple as the apex of a triangle

from which she bisects the circumference

of the lawn until she finds the place where

the rabbit has escaped, or the squirrel upped

the ante by climbing into a new Euclidian plane.

She stumbles across the lawn, eyes pulling

her feet along, gaze fixed on a rodent working

the maze of the oak as if it were his own invention,

her feet tangling in the roots of trees, and tripping,

yes, even over themselves, until I go out to assist,

by pointing at the squirrel, and repeating, "There!

There!" But instead of following my outstretched

arm to the crown of the tree, where the animal is

now lounging under a canopy of leaves,

catching its breath, charting its next escape,

she looks to my mouth, eager to read my lips,

confident that I—who can bring her home

from across the field with a word, who

can speak for the willow and the zinnia—

can surely charm a squirrel down from a tree.

WRITING PROMPT: Write about what your dog is really thinking.


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2016 by Julie Mariouw