When the Dog Bites

Tomás Q. Morín

It’s not always about fleas.

Sometimes an itch

is an itch is an itch.

Midnight came and went thirty minutes ago,

and it’s honestly too late

to be writing this poem.

So what am I doing still up

instead of dreaming

about the day

I will finally make it to Maine?

I’ll tell you why,

it’s because of a little thing called personal growth.

Once upon a time

whenever I was too tired

to sleep and too tired to stop writing,

I would crochet:

Image Image

Turn of Phrase

Image Half-Rhyme

and Loose Iambic Pentameter

to bring it home.

Don’t get me wrong,

I’m not saying I’m proud of how easy it was.

One of my old teachers

said I was “tatting” when I did this.

I’ll confess:

I’ve made my fair share of doilies

out of words

when I was learning how to write.

Guilty as charged.

Throw away the key.

If I had the chops

like Lorca to toss out a dolphin of love

or steel flames,

I would fill pages

with my words

and quickly become unbearable to be around.

During lunch today I said,

“Don’t play with your food”

with a straight face.

I know

what you must be thinking right now.

In my defense,

there is no defense,

and so I wish to recant,

to have my words stricken from the record.

Here comes the sun,

wagging its tail.

It jumps over a cloud

and then another and another.

It licks my face.

Who’s a good boy?

Who’s a good boy?

Tomás Q. Morín is the author, most recently, of Machete, a poetry collection, and Where Are You From, a book of letters to his son. He teaches at Rice University.
Originally published:
June 10, 2024


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