Mongrel Heart

By David Baker b. 1954 David Baker
Up the dog bounds to the window, baying
         like a basset his doleful, tearing sounds
             from the belly, as if mourning a dead king,

and now he’s howling like a beagle – yips, brays,
         gagging growls – and scratching the sill paintless,
              that’s how much he’s missed you, the two of you,

both of you, mother and daughter, my wife
         and child. All week he’s curled at my feet,
             warming himself and me watching more TV,

or wandered the lonely rooms, my dog shadow,
        who like a poodle now hops, amped-up windup
            maniac yo-yo with matted curls and snot nose

smearing the panes, having heard another car
           like yours taking its grinding turn down
               our block, or a school bus, or bird-squawk,

that’s how much he’s missed you, good dog,
         companion dog, dog-of-all-types, most excellent dog
             I told you once and for all we should never get.

Reprinted from The Southeast Review, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2005, by permission of the author, whose newest book of poetry is Midwest Eclogue, W. W. Norton (2005). Copyright © 2005 by David Baker.

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Poet David Baker b. 1954

Subjects Home Life, Relationships, Pets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 David  Baker

Biography

Though he is known primarily as a poet of the Midwest, David Baker was born in Bangor, Maine in 1954. He spent his childhood in Missouri and attended Central Missouri State University before receiving his PhD from the University of Utah. He has won fellowships and awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Pushcart Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Currently a Professor of English . . .

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SUBJECT Home Life, Relationships, Pets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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