These Dogs and Those by Tiff Holland

These dogs
are not those dogs
one two three
all black and white
running after
Frisbees ball sheep
These dogs sit at my feet
white yellow black
muzzle the hands dangling
at the ends of my arms
They don’t watch me sleep

I tested the electric collar
on myself So those dogs
wouldn’t chase cars
jumped ten feet at a shock
that didn’t faze them
Approaching, retreating,
Deciding it was worth it,
a singular jolt of pain
to bring order to the universe

These dogs are chaos
bark at their own reflection
in the dishwasher
let us dress them
as Santa Claus
wear bunny ears,
poke their noses
through the knot-
holes in the fence
to visit neighbor dogs
they recognize as kin, not

Those dogs saw everywhere
only the Other even in We
who patted their heads
and brushed their coats
and filled their bowls
It was their job to curtail
our tendencies to wander
to bite to keep us safe.

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