Dog Ears



Flouncing when she trots,
Perked, cocked, flopped,
Flattened, swiveled at
Prompts of joy or itch
Or curiosity, velvet
Flaps opening on secret
Zones of sound more
Precious than what’s
Hidden inside any silken
Purse—awareness’s soft
Synecdoches, alert just
To essentials culled from
All the noise and verbiage—
I can’t imagine living with
Her nose, but how I envy
Her single-minded sonic
Vigilance, since minute by
Minute my mind can’t
Help but leap anywhere
From somewhere oblique
Down that vague inner
Torrent of words.  How
I love gently pinching those
Ears between my thumb
And fingers, sometimes
Even between my lip-
sheathed teeth, until that
Sloe-eyed smile of hers
Arrives—O dog ears—
Smoothed down to place
The humble pleasures
Of these, our numbered days




Robert Farnsworth’s poetry has appeared in magazines all over the U.S., in Canada and the UK, in two collections from: Three or Four Hills and A Cloud (1982) and Honest Water (1989), and most recently in his collection Rumored Islands (2010) from Harbor Mountain Press. His work has won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a PEN. Discovery citation. In 2006 he was the summer poet-in-residence at The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire. For twenty-seven years he taught writing and literature at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.



read next: Robert Farnsworth, “Prepared Instruments


“Dog Ears” appeared in TLR: Contents May Shift (Summer, 2020)