Nice Guy, Dale Champlin

Diane Corson, Green Zygote


Nice Guy

Like a wolf, wasn’t it? Or a Dove that will never die. 

               —Gerald Stern

I pretend it’s true—he’s not
a wolf in the guise of a dove
cuddle-able and cooing—
chatting and confidant—spouting
in-jokes while I stir my risotto—
a fragrant cloud—mushrooms,
white wine. I stir and stir.

I curry the coarse fur of his ruff
while he nuzzles my ankles and licks
between my toes. I buy him a muzzle,
a flea collar, a harness, a chew toy,
a ball and a Frisbee. I call him Good Boy.
When I massage his ear tips
how he groans with pleasure.

I tell him, Dude, the way you’re pacing,
you’ll wear a trench in the concrete,
here’s your bowl of risotto, a beef femur,
a biscuit.
His face twists with cunning—

wind blowing through his mane.
He gnaws the bone to the marrow,
teeth honed razorblade keen.

Dale Champlin

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