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Mike Orlock


Whoever named you had either 
a sly sense of humor 
or perhaps none at all, 
but one look into your eyes 
told me what I needed to know. 

You live on puppy-time, 
chasing seconds into minutes-- 
your sleek body coiled with energy, 
looking for reasons to spring 
into directions that defy direction. 

No breeze-blown leaf is safe; 
no butterfly free from your twitching nose. 
The squirrels and rabbits are at a loss: 
they prefer predictability 
and favor the familiar 

but what do they make of you? 
You are unnamable to them. 
But you know your silly name. 
Your tail beats time 
to its every utterance. 

That single syllable fills a hole 
in my day that was dug by your predecessor, 
whose name you have heard 
stuttered like an impediment 
as I’ve tripped over yours. 

You forgive with puppy licks 
and seem to know what I’d forgotten: 
Names aren’t important. 
We learn to live with what we’re given. 
We find love by what we give.


© by Mike Orlock.
Used with the author’s permission.



Mike Orlock is a retired high school English and American History teacher who splits time between the Chicago suburbs and a vacation home in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He has been married 37 years to his high school sweetheart and inspiration, Liz. His short stories, poems, and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications such as Reporter-Progress newspapers, The Peninsula Pulse, VerseWisconsin, TriQuarterly, and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets annual calendar.



Post New Comment:
Ginny C.:
The final stanza is well-earned and brings great cohesion to the poem. Every dog lover can relate to this touching poem.
Posted 07/08/2013 10:43 AM
What a beautiful poem to read and think about! Thank you, Mike!
Posted 07/08/2013 10:19 AM
I can just see this little guy....enjoyable, touching poem.
Posted 07/08/2013 09:08 AM
poignant and true poem, Mike...good one!
Posted 07/08/2013 08:02 AM

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