When We Were Puppies

When We Were Puppies

We’d play Ball in the Hall
where I’d throw down the corridor
and he’d run full blast
catch it on the bounce
claws skittering against hardwood
then slam into the closet
at the far end and trot
back proud and joyful

He bit me once but it was my fault
after a Sunday dinner of steak
and potatoes we were in the backyard
he was working a t-bone
freeing the last molecules of fat
I was looking for my pocketknife
then I saw it open and near his paw
I reached in— not wanting him to get cut

With barely a snarl
his canines broke the thin skin
on the back of my hand
it hurt — in every way
disbelief at the blood
anger following pain
but he didn’t hold a grudge
something I still envy

We played Ball in the Hall that very evening
my hand bandaged— his tongue loose and panting
the tennis ball soaked

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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17 Responses to When We Were Puppies

  1. Just wow! disbelief at the blood…I still envy — love these lines❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  2. trE says:

    Oh, I love this, Bart.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love this! Is the picture of a Portuguese Water Dog? 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. K.Hartless says:

    A wonderful circle you create and what’s a little blood loss between best friends? I enjoyed the speaker’s envy at what I’m guessing was the puppy’s ability to follow instinct. Much enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ivor20 says:

    “anger following pain
    but he didn’t hold a grudge
    something I still envy”

    These lines made smile Bart, our puppies definitey lovely attitudes ..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JeanMarie says:

    Good job. I love the title. It’s a-dog-able!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. berniebell1955 says:

    When Ben-The-Dog was a pup we were sitting on the bench in the garden. He was wiggling about and got his paw stuck between the slats. I was, carefully, trying extricate him – he was young, in pain, not understanding, and bit me. I still have the scar on the heel of my left hand. And now, since Ben has gone, I like to see it.

    We love them – they love us – and sometimes – love – bites.

    https://theorkneynews.scot/2017/11/23/how-animals-dont-fuss/

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful poem..you nailed it !!

    Liked by 1 person

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