“Failure” by Eric Norris

Yes, yes, you are my friend,
My boy with perky ears,
Forever chasing squirrels,
And shady men with beards.

All innocence you lay
Your muzzle on my thigh,
Staring off into space,
Half-dreamily. You high?

You sat there like the Sphinx,
Silent as the tomb,
Paws crossed, eyes closed, in a cage,
In the adoption room.

A dog designed for me—
A God-send. As a gift,
I pulled a Milk-Bone from
My shorts. Your snout you lift.

Those Milk-Bones changed our lives.
Adorable, and dumb,
I say, “I hate you,” now,
With wagging tail you come.

You come and lick my face,
Then vomit on the floor.
You bite the hand that feeds you,
Then lick my face for more.

Your mouth is always open,
Dripping and panting with pride,
Dropping balls at my feet.
Whose balls you won’t confide

Without a little treat.
So, I play along.
Because I love you. And
Your jaws are pretty strong.


Eric Norris’ poems have appeared in The New English Review, Ambit, Softblow, and Assaracus. He lives in Portland, Oregon.