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Click the play button below to listen to Catherine Pierce read
“Why I Respect the Dog.”

The dog weighs twelve pounds
and uses them as she pleases.
The king-size bed is not big enough.
Sleep enabler, stretch-monger,
when she wants to be touched,
she offers up the narrow white arc
of her belly. When a loud face
crowds her, she growls. Or, depending
on the weather, the time, the face,
she doesn’t. The dog knows
the precise creak of the cheese drawer
and waits. She is never wrong.
The dog does not care for rain.
The dog does not fret about the carpets.
The dog is on the table again,
and the sandwich crusts are gone,
the cereal milk is gone,
the cracker crumbs are gone.
She knows “down” but will not heed it.
Sometimes at night I leave her
sleeping on the couch, her eyes
flickering with dreams. From bed
I hear her nails clicking down
the hall, fast, faster. She noses open
the door and launches herself
against me, her twelve pounds,
her punk-black fur. She wants
to be close, right now, it is urgent,
and then, simple as that, she is.