artwork: ralph murre
by Robert Nordstrom
My dog’s a liar and she isn’t very good at it.
Chin resting on her paws, she looks up at me
with her cartoon-cute eyes as if to say — Who me?
I have no idea what happened to the cracker.
But I’m not falling for her mendacious ways.
The soup cracker on the table was there
when I left the room and gone
when I returned. She has no alibi,
no sentient ravenous being to blame
so we lapse into a meltdown stare down,
which I know I’ll win because she,
like her peers, can’t bear confrontation
unless prepared to do something about it—
and she isn’t.
I step outside and light a cigarette.
This morning I told my wife I had quit
for good. Looked her dead
in the eyes and said — that’s it.
She smiled sweetly and gave me
a patronizing pat on the shoulder.
I flip my butt deep into the ferns
and go back inside. Dog lies
in the same spot, cracker
on the floor under the table
not two feet from her quivering nose.
Shameless, I pat her head,
~ first published in Rosebud