The Lady and the Tramp

By Bruce Guernsey Bruce Guernsey
As my mother’s memory dims   
she’s losing her sense of smell   
and can’t remember the toast   
blackening the kitchen with smoke   
or sniff how nasty the breath of the dog   
that follows her yet from room to room,   
unable, himself, to hear his own bark.   

It’s thus they get around,   
the wheezing old hound stone deaf   
baying like a smoke alarm   
for his amnesiac mistress whose back   
from petting him is bent forever   
as they shuffle towards the flaming toaster   
and split the cindered crisp that’s left.

Poem copyright © 2007 by Bruce Guernsey, whose newest book, New England Primer, was published by Cherry Grove Collections (WordTech Communications) in 2008. Poem reprinted from Spoon River Poetry Review, Vol. XXVI, no. 2, by permission of the author.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Bruce Guernsey

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors, Pets

Poetic Terms Sonnet


Poet, teacher, and editor, Bruce Guernsey graduated from Colgate University 1966. He later earned MAs from the University of Virginia and The John Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire.
Bruce Guernsey’s quiet, observant poems draw vividly upon the nature of his surroundings in the Northeast—and later Midwest—United States. In an interview with poet Diane Lockward, Guernsey notes how the move from . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Relationships, Home Life, Family & Ancestors, Pets

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.