I pick small objects from my dog’s mouth

Robin Gow


a paperclip, a thumb tac, a knot of hair.
i reach between small white teeth and
underneath her tongue. i wonder about
her desire to eat small dangerous things.
i crawl on all fours with her & we walk out
early in the morning while the sun
in blue & orange
& the sounds of doors closing
echo in the distance. how will i teach her
how to use a mouth when i haven’t mastered
my own? i kiss a window. i eat a
knob. i swallow a few earrings.
i tell her that it’s hard
for creatures like us.
that we crave what does not belong
in our jaws.
as she walks she presses her nose
to the ground & the ground is so gentle
& it allows her inspection.
grass damp in the morning.
it is almost october & soon we will lick frost
off our fingernails.
i tell her i am sorry
for being demanding. for asking
that she listen more than an animal
is capable. i once told Jack about my fear
of sleeping through a whole day. he laughed.
this morning i am tired & i want to
eat wads of hair
& have a larger animal
pull each strand out from between my teeth
telling me that i need to survive.
i want that kind of protection. Benny was pacing
last night with a thumb tac in between her teeth
& she set it on the counter. i played with the tac
between my fingers
before placing it in the drawer.
my dog begs for sharp objects & she wants
to chew on cigarette filters & i want
to gnaw them with her. sometimes i wonder
what would happen if i just let her
do whatever she desired. let her eat
the trinkets of garbage. what does
she want with them? she falls asleep again
& i bite down on a tac to show her
how to hold it without cutting
your gums.




Robin Gow is the author of the chapbook HONEYSUCKLE by Finishing Line Press. Their poetry has recently been published in POETRY, New Delta Review, and Roanoke Review. They is a graduate student and professor at Adelphi University pursing an MFA in Creative Writing. They is the Editor at Large for Village of Crickets and Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages. Their first full-length poetry collection is forth-coming with Tolsun Books.