Don't Do That
By Stephen Dunn
It was bring-your-own if you wanted anything
hard, so I brought Johnnie Walker Red
along with some resentment I'd held in
for a few weeks, which was not helped
by the sight of little nameless things
pierced with toothpicks on the tables,
or by talk that promised to be nothing
if not small. But I'd consented to come,
and I knew what part of the house
their animals would be sequestered,
whose company I loved. What else can I say,
except that old retainer of slights and wrongs,
that bad boy I hadn't quite outgrown—
I'd brought him along, too. I was out
to cultivate a mood. My hosts greeted me,
but did not ask about my soul, which was when
I was invited by Johnnie Walker Red
to find the right kind of glass, and pour.
I toasted the air. I said hello to the wall,
then walked past a group of women
dressed to be seen, undressing them
one by one, and went up the stairs to where
the Rottweilers were, Rosie and Tom,
and got down with them on all fours.
They licked the face I offered them,
and I proceeded to slick back my hair
with their saliva, and before long
I felt like a wild thing, ready to mess up
the party, scarf the hors d'oeuvres.
But the dogs said, No, don't do that,
calm down, after a while they open the door
and let you out, they pet your head, and everything
you might have held against them is gone,
and you're good friends again. Stay, they said.
From this week's New Yorker.
Rosie had a relatively quiet, grumpy day that involved a lot of snoring, hiding under furniture, and licking her leg where the vet shaved it to put in the IV yesterday, but she ate pretty well considering that she can only have small bites of soft food and that she's on antibiotics, and she spent most of the evening stretched out on the back of the couch behind me, so she can't be too distraught. And in other good animal news, there is a chipmunk back in our front yard! I don't know whether the one who died was its spouse or sibling, or if this is a newcomer that took over the dead chipmunk's nest, but I was happy to see it and the cats were pesked as usual. Cinnamon accidentally jumped in the tub when it was full of water for Adam's bath and leaped out yowling, which only got worse when she was snatched and dried with a towel, but otherwise everyone seems relatively back to normal.
My other activities for the day included working on some Bar Mitzvah stuff, editing Adam's excellent Shakespearean soliloquy, sending Adam off with Grandma Linda to shop for a suit for the aforementioned Bar Mitzvah (which they found and bought, thus sparing me a great deal of grief as my kids cooperate more with my mother in the hunt for clothes than they do with me), reading about the importance of penguin poop, tagging for the Snarry Games, discussing the robotics and final exam schedule with Daniel (that is, when I need to drive over to school to pick up), getting talked into letting Adam buy a four-room beachhouse in Superpoke Pets, and similarly domestic excitement.