Author’s Note: “In this poem I wanted to explore this feeling of what my ideal life might look like and then casting those desires against societal ideas of what an “ideal” or “American Dream” kind of life might look like. I often find dipping into surrealism helps explore where my own opinions might be complex or knotted.”
Our Life With Eight More Dogs Than We Already Have
“I want four more dogs,” I say and the number changes by dinner
when I effuse, “six more.” You sigh or shrug. A year passes.
I make a picket fence around my heart. Plant grass like we did
in the muddy dirt of my parent’s yard. Days of sprinklers.
Our bare feet. It has taken me years to stop believing
anything can be planted and harvested but it won’t stop me.
A lawn is in a state of perpetual harvest. The dogs come
in the form of balloons. One I purchase, pretending I have a son
and pretending it is his birthday. Sit in my car with the balloon.
Soon everything I love will have four legs and run to greet me.
I’m settling on eight because I have two dogs right now
and plus eight will make ten. One for each direction of wanting.
You go outside to smoke on the corner outside our apartment.
A year has not passed. Not even quite a day. Is it so bad to want
abundance? Legs? Teeth? How, on a winter night, our dogs
would all beg to sleep between us. Some of them maybe
memorize our phone numbers and call us at work. On Facebook
everyone I see is having babies. You laugh and say, “I don’t ever
want a baby.” I count my fingers. Wipe the dogs’ paws with lotion
after a frigid walk on our ice-patched sidewalks. I don’t have
anywhere to plant grass or anywhere yet to keep eight new dogs.
I lower the number again as we lay side by side in bed.
“Two more,” I say. “I just want two more dogs.”
Robin Gow is a trans and queer poet and young adult/middle-grade author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy (Tolsun Books, 2020), the chapbook Honeysuckle (Finishing Line Press, 2019), and a young adult novel, A Million Quiet Revolutions (2022, with FSG). Gow’s poetry has recently been published in Poetry, New Delta Review, and Washington Square Review.
Delmarva Review selects the best of new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from thousands of submissions during the year. Designed to encourage outstanding writing from authors everywhere, the literary journal is a nonprofit and independent publication. Support comes from tax-deductible contributions and a grant from Talbot Arts with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Website: www.DelmarvaReview.org