Troubador turned beggar, a dapper king growling from your jeweled
throne as I enter your home. You turn your whiskered nose up
until I offer mice bites of cheese from the icebox.

You take them carefully from my fingertips with your tiny teeth,
then to show your love of all creatures great and small, you hump
your giraffe. Our pilgrimage begins, we step out amidst

the Poor Clares, you sniff gingerly. Slip and click, claws scrape
hallway linoleum as you scuttle from doormat to doormat. Sit
your silent protest of passive resistance at top of stairs—

it worked for Ghandi and Martin Luther King but you’re just ten
tough pounds of hair and teeth, a bat without wings, this city’s
great rat terrier, terrorist king. Jacob’s not the only one

who’s wrestling bigger things. I coax you downward, you resist
then relent, sensing my stubbornness more than your own.
On the streets you’re a bowling ball on a string, a yo-yo

getting caught on the scents of trees and your need to mark
everything, a urinary graffiti artist bombing the hell out
of Brooklyn, needing to be smelled and seen,

and then comes a Shepard, a flock of other dogs, and you snap
from your cool collar upturned James Dean to the 42nd street
savage yelling and foaming. You may need to rethink

your recruitment strategy. I lift you up in your harness—suspended
you squirm a spider web worn and traveling. A flight of steps,
a plight of depths, stop dead in your tracks afraid of falling

upwards. It’s let go or be dragged, you’re rising, surprising yourself
with your own abilities, if only walking through fear was as easy
as being pulled up by someone who keeps believing.

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SUSIE DEFORD studied writing at Florida State University, and received her MFA from the New School University. Her work has appeared in BOMB, Poets and Artists, Mipoesias, Work Zine, Dog Fancy, Shampoo, the Anthology "Dogs Singing," amongst others. She has taught writing at Brooklyn Friends School, Berkeley Carroll, and the College of New Rochelle. Susie is a CPDT-KA dog trainer who lives in Brooklyn, where she runs Susie’s Pet Care, a dog walking, training and pet sitting business

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