Poem | Matthew Mellor

Black Dog

The Softness of Kites by Bill Wolak

I don’t know when I acquired the dog.
All I know is since then it’s just he and I.
Every hair on his body; deepest black,
he wears no crown but walks like a king.
This life with my
beast is a constant test.

Every walk we take is a furious contest.
He will run, hide, and attack other dogs,
growling and barking, his mouth frothy and foamy.
I tried to stop him, took a knife to his eye,
I needed to show him that I am his king,
but just one look from him and my thoughts turn black.

With just one eye, the other a black
hole. People have their suspicions, to which I attest.
But even they hate his constant licking.
I just can’t handle this big black dog.
But we share so much; we are Gemini.
An invisible bond a shared anatomy.

Last week I stabbed him, right in his tummy,
to open him up, see if he is black
inside. Looking at me with his one good eye,
not a single sign of protest,
from that ugly black dog.
Even with a knife in him, he is still king.

He leaves no room for merrymaking,
I know I kneel to my
beast but I didn’t ask for this dog.
My constant companion, my long black
shadow. This is a constant test
that I cannot pass. After all I’m no Gandhi.


I want to drown him, bludgeon him, and feed him to a bigger dog.
I’ll try painting him white, but his black will still shine through.
Owning him is a constant test. 

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