Duke by Erik Carlsen

Whenever he talks I hope he knows I’m listening,

But I only respond when he is gone.


I dream that I can ask him questions. Why is there thunder?

How long were you alive before me?


When he takes me for a walk I know he is thinking of his regrets.

That is what silence has always done to him, I bet.


He looks at me every day and says the fur on my tail

Is growing back. I take his word for it. I don’t think


He would lie to me, especially about something like that.

But when I dream, I dream I walk upright and don’t limp anymore.


We both walk without pain, and we run.

I can hear him from far away, calling like he is lost.


I appear with my head over the tall grass, bobbing like a seal’s.

He embraces me completely, jowls and teeth, and we tumble.


He carries me like he did the first day we met. I am never bleeding

In my dreams. I only lick where he was hurt,


That is why I lick him everywhere. I put myself between him and everything.

I am a well-worn dog, that is what he says about me.


He puts cream on my tail and tells me it will help

The hair grow back. It doesn’t. I lick it off


And no hair grows on my tongue. I remind him

If all his actions had the desired consequence


He would not be here.


Erik Carlsen is a Junior at PLU and is always happy to be read, especially in Creative Colloquy.