Today's Inspiration & Writing Prompt

October 26, 2016

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