Stories & Poems About Dogs
Dennis F. Bormann & Gaynell Gavin
ISBN: 978-1-59948-588-1, 280 pages, $14.95
Release date: November 1, 2016
Susan Anmuth knows she’s a writer by the many methods she postpones writing. She lives in Newark, New Jersey with her son Ethan, non-psychiatric Yorkie Xena the Warrior Princess, and aptly jealous cat Jelly. Her job as a cashier at Walmart yields plenty of material about which to postpone writing.
Dori Appel’s poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and in her collection of poems, Another Rude Awakening. A playwright as well as a poet, she is the author of many published plays and monologues, and was the winner of the Oregon Book Award in Drama in 1998, 1999, and 2001. Her play, Far From the Zoo, a collection of short comedic pieces about people and animals, was originally produced as a benefit for five Southern Oregon animal shelters, and is available, royalty-free, for all theatrical productions and events which benefit animals. http://www.doriappel.com/. “Gone” is dedicated to Dori’s childhood beagle, Waggy.
Gail Bartley’s work has appeared in Carve Magazine, Berkeley Fiction Review, Ink Pot, and The Night, the Rain, and the River – an anthology of short fiction by Oregon writers from Forest Avenue Press. She lives and writes in Bend, Oregon, a smallish city perched on the edge of the Great Basin, where the sky is most always blue, the air smells like sagebrush, and for every two humans, there is at least one dog (hers being a sweet, shy Aussie named Blue).
Sunipa Basu studied Physics, made a career in Insurance, becoming a Fellow of the Insurance Institutes of India, researching and writing papers, winning the prestigious S.K. Desai Memorial Prize. She resigned from level of Divisional Manager, for creative writing, experimental theatre and film studies. Published stories, articles and film and book reviews in The Indian Express, The Hindu, British Council’s Literature Alive, Journal of South Asian Cinema, etc. Collection of short stories, The Man in the Red Maruti. Written monograph for the National Film Archives of India, translations of Utpal Dutt’s Kallol and Titumi., several original plays.
James Breeden lives in Durham, NC. Some of his stories and poems have appeared in the Crime Factory, Broad River Review, Piedmont Literary Review, the Main Street Rag, Yowl, Thrift Poetic Arts, The Urban Hiker, and a dozen other literary magazines. The Shadow of Longing, a chapbook of his poems, was published by the Finishing Line Press. Presently he’s in the process of submitting two novels, one a young adult novel, to various agents.
Michael R. Brown, retired professor, author of four books of poetry and numerous stories, articles, and miscellaneous prose, founded the Boston Poetry Slam. His Ph.D. dissertation on the poets of the Harlem Renaissance was directed by Robert Hayden. He and his partner Valerie Lawson produce the quarterly poetry journal Off the Coast. They live in Downeast Maine with two Siberian Huskies.
Byron Brumbaugh is an emergency room physician living and working in Massachusetts, USA. In addition to an MD, he has a PhD in physics. Byron lived three and a half years in Ethiopia where he had many life-shaping experiences and has visited the rest of East Africa on multiple occasions. He has a novel, The Devil’s Vial, published by Black Rose Writing, released August 27, 2015. He has published professional papers in scholarly journals and has been writing fiction for the past eight years in close association with novelist/short story writer Kathie Giorgio and AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop LLC.
Jennifer Clark is the author of Necessary Clearings, a full length poetry collection published by Shabda Press. Failbetter, Main Street Rag, Nimrod, and Flyway are some of the places that have made a home for her writings. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Voices from the Porch (a Main Street Rag Anthology). Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times and once for the Rhysling Award. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Lisa Dordal (M.Div., M.F.A.), author of Commemoration from Finishing Line Press, teaches in the English Department at Vanderbilt University. A Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including Best New Poets 2015, Cave Wall, CALYX, The Greensboro Review, Nimrod, Sojourners, New Millennium Writings, and The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. Her manuscript “The Lies that Save Us” was a finalist for the 2014 May Swenson Poetry Award.
MFC Feeley is a volunteer judge for Mash Stories and Scholastic. Her novel “Birdie” was a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist and she won a scholarship to the 2015 Wesleyan Writer’s Conference. Recent stories have been published on line and in print. More at: MFC Feeley/ Facebook.
Thomas Gibbs writing is found in The Kenyon Review Online, Brevity, Zone 3, Blood and Thunder; Musing in the Art of Medicine, Hospital Drive, The Healing Muse, Stone Canoe, The Dos Passos Review, Hippocampus Magazine, and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. He has been anthologized by Lee Gutkind in Becoming a Doctor. Moved On was first published in The Gettysburg Review, Winter, 2011. It later was listed as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2012. He supports his writing as a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in Florida.
Kathie Giorgio is the author of six widely acclaimed books: three novels, The Home For Wayward Clocks, Learning To Tell (A Life)Time, and Rise From The River, two collections, Enlarged Hearts, and Oddities & Endings; The Collected Stories of Kathie Giorgio, and one poetry chapbook, True Light Falls In Many Forms, all released by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Giorgio’s short stories and poems have appeared in over 100 literary magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Fiction International, and Harpur Palate, and in many anthologies. She is the director and founder of AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop, an international creative writing studio and lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with her husband, the writer Michael Giorgio and their daughter, Olivia, and with two devil-spawned beagles and two angelic cats.
Bruce Graham is a native of New Jersey. He is admitted to practice law in three states, has practiced law, served in government and in the judiciary and been active in political campaigns. His publication record includes fiction stories and non-fiction articles in many publications, including four stories published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Other stories and articles have won awards and prizes. He has published two novels, "Haven," through Xlibris and "And the Next President Is . . . ." available where e-books are sold.
Jack Granath is a library director in Bonner Springs, Kansas after transplantation from the Chicago area twenty-five years ago. He holds degrees of great value and dubious utility from the universities of Michigan and Missouri. His poems have appeared in Poetry East, Rattle, and North American Review among other journals and magazines. Two poems appeared in Main Street Rag in 2012 and others are forthcoming in the MSR Ghosts anthology. His web site is www.jackgranath.com.
Lori Gravley writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. She earned her MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has published poems in a variety of journals, recently including I-70 Review, Burningword, and Crack the Spine. She has a Golden Retriever and a Papillion and still looks for coyote signs on walks in the woods around her home in Yellow Springs, Ohio. You can learn more about Lori at www.lorigravley.com.
Jeanie Greensfelder is the author of Biting the Apple (Penciled In, 2012), and Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith (Penciled In, 2015). Her poems have been published at Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry, and the On Being blog; in anthologies: Paris,Etc. Pushing the Envelope: Epistolary Poems, and 30 Years of Corner of the Mouth; and in journals: Askew, Miramar, Orbis, Kaleidoscope, Riptide, Solo Novo, Falling Star, If&When and others. She won the Lillian Dean Poetry Award. A psychologist, she seeks to understand herself and others on this shared journey, filled, as Joseph Campbell wrote, with sorrowful joys and joyful sorrows.
Kari Gunter-Seymour is a poet, photographer and graphic designer. Her work appears in several journals and publications including, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Still: The Journal, Chiron Review, US 1 Worksheets, Red Earth Review and The LA Times. She is the founder/curator of the “Women of Appalachia Project,” events that celebrate Appalachia’s visual, literary and performing women artists (www.womenofappalachia.com).
Atar Hadari’s “Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik” (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award and his debut poetry collection, “Rembrandt’s Bible”, was published by Indigo Dreams. “Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin” was recently awarded a Pen Translates 2016 grant and is forthcoming from Arc Publications in October. He is a member of the BML music theatre workshop and currently contributes a monthly verse bible translation column to MOSAIC magazine.
Ann Howells’s poetry appears in Borderlands, RiverSedge, and Spillway among others. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit, and has edited Illya’s Honey since 1999, recently going digital (www.IllyasHoney.com) and taking on a co-editor. In 2001, she was named “Distinguished Poet of Dallas.” Her chapbook is, Black Crow in Flight, (Main Street Rag, 2007). She has been read on NPR, interviewed on Writers Around Annapolis television, and nominated four times for a Pushcart. Her first book, Under a Lone Star, will be released by Village Books Press in February 2016. Cowboys & Cadillacs, an anthology of poetry from Dallas/Fort Worth, for which she is editor, will be released later in spring.
A.J. Huffman has published twelve full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers. She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com.
Michaeleen Kelly is a political philosopher, classical pianist and performance poet in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has won the Dyer-Ives Poetry Contest twice, and has been published in Blue Collar Review, Right Hand Pointing, and Melancholy Hyperbole. She has just completed her second poetry-instrumental CD, “Same Ol’ New Beginnings”.
Adam Kotlarczyk’s short fiction has appeared in Yellow Chair Review, The First Line, The Tishman Review, and With Painted Words, among others. In 2013, he published Front Matter, a book of short fiction. He has a Ph.D. in American literature and teaches at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois, where he is also head coach of the golf team. He enjoys traveling with his wife. You can follow him on Twitter @TheKayCheck.
Peter Krones is a retired Clinical Psychologist, reborn as poet and part time potter eight years ago. First published in The Carolina Quarterly in 1961, after a long hiatus his poems appeared in anthologies and journals including Iodine Poetry Journal, Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Pine Whispers and elsewhere. He enjoys reading for friends, family and at occasional open mics. Peter lives on a quiet cul-de-sac in Waxhaw, NC, and shares his home with too many plants, as little grass as possible and two beloved dogs – grateful for his daughter and grandson nearby.
Sharon Kurtzman writes fiction and non-fiction. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and BetterAfter50. Recently, two of her fiction pieces were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Hippocampus Magazine, South Writ Large, Crack the Spine, Cleaver Magazine, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Still Crazy Literary Magazine, Every Writer’s Resource: Stories, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Belle Reve Literary Journal, River Lit, Main Street Rag’s anthology, Voices from the Porch and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers. She is a Jersey girl who now calls the South home. Connect with more of her writing at www.sharonkurtzman.com.
Pat Lawson taught community college English for many years. She has published poetry and fiction, the latter in New Letters, Nimrod, The Dalhousie Review, The Chariton Review and elsewhere. Her stories and poems also appear in Why We Love Our Cats and Dogs, co-authored with the late Philip Miller. She helps edit The Same literary magazine and is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City. She loves dogs and has never been without one for long. Her current dog is a smallish mixed breed adopted from a shelter, which at the time was naming dogs for country western singers. She got Cash.
Valerie Lawson's work has been published in Main Street Rag, BigCityLit, About Place Journal, The Catch, and Ibbetson Street. Lawson's first book, Dog Watch, was released in 2007. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times, Lawson won awards for Best Narrative Poem and Spoken Word at the Cambridge Poetry Awards and was a finalist for the 2015 Rita Dove Award. Valerie and her partner Michael Brown co-edit Off the Coast literary journal and live in downeast Maine with a pair of retired sled dogs on fourteen acres of trees with a view across Passamaquoddy Bay to New Brunswick, Canada. www.valerie-lawson.com.
Margo Lemieux has been an artist since the first grade when she got into trouble with her teacher for “decorating” her workbook. After earning a degree in fine arts in painting from Boston University, she worked as a graphic designer, tee-shirt artist, newspaper correspondent, children’s book author and illustrator, and other interesting things. Her poetry has been included in various anthologies and she has a chapbook from Finishing Line Press. Currently she is an associate professor of fine art at Lasell College, Newton.
Richard Levine is the author of The Cadence of Mercy, A Tide of a Hundred Mountains, That Country’s Soul, A Language Full of Wars and Songs, and Snapshots from a Battle.
Edward Lodi grew up on the cranberry bogs of Cape Cod, where his father was manager for a small cranberry company. As a boy he played on the bogs, and as a youth he worked on them to help pay for college and then graduate school. He draws upon these early experiences for background and local color for much of his writing, including his Cranberry Country Mystery series. “The Return of the Wolves” is based on events that happened in the 1950s.
Ed Madden is author of four books of poetry and a professor of English at the University of South Carolina. In 2015 he was named the poet laureate for the City of Columbia, SC.
Marjorie Maddox is Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Director of Creative Writing and Professor of English at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. She has published ten collections of poetry including Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf and Stock), Transplant, Transplant, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); and Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award). She has published over 450 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies and her short story collection, What She Was Saying is forthcoming from Fomite Press. Co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State Press), she also has published four children’s books with four forthcoming. For more information: www.marjoriemaddox.com
Lauri Maerov’s award-winning essays and fiction have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Kalliope, the Raleigh Review, Another Chicago Magazine (ACM Fiction Prize winner), the Warner Books anthology: Every Woman Has a Story, PIF and the online magazine, Marco Polo Arts. Her miniature book, Spyku, goes on the road in 2016 as part of the Creativity Caravan’s Tiny Book Show. She is the author of the novel, Copycat (Penguin) and her work is also featured in Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design, Advertising and Marketing. Lauri lives in Chapel Hill, NC and works with companies around the world as a writer and branding consultant.
Ro (Rowena) Mason has been writing memoirs and stories since she retired from a career in technical writing in 2009. She has written about forty memoir pieces and self-published a Regency romance titled Cousin Jack. She likes to write about my life as a child in Weaverville, NC and hopes readers enjoy the story “Charlotte and Edgar,” about the two dogs who grew up with her.
Nancy McKinley writes fiction and nonfiction narrative. Publications include Main Street Rag Short Fiction Anthologies: Commutability: Stories About the Journey from Here to There, Voices from the Porch, Tattoos, Coming Home, Big Water; Blue Penny Quarterly, The Cortland Review, Blue Lake Review; Becoming Anthology-U of Nebraska; and Colorado Review. She lives in Fort Collins, CO, and teaches in the low residency M.A./M.F.A. at Wilkes University, PA, and the Wilkes Weekender in Mesa, AZ. She earned her Ph.D. from SUNY-Binghamton, M.A. from Colorado State University, and B.A. from College of the Holy Cross where she was one of the first females at the previously male school.
James Miller Robinson has had poems and short prose in a number of literary magazines and journals including Texas Review, Rio Grande Review, Southern Humanities Review, George Washington Review, and Kansas Quarterly. He has two chapbooks—The Caterpillars at Saint Bernard (Mule on a Ferris Wheel Press, 2014) and Boca del Rio in the Afternoon (Finishing Line Press, 2015). He works as a legal interpreter/translator registered with the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts.
Carol Murphy, MA, is a writer, consultant and speech-language pathologist who has written essays, interviews, stories and poems about children, language development, learning disabilities, the therapeutic and almost mystical influence of animals, and the many ways language, or a lack of it, colors life’s experiences. Recent stories publications include www.specialeducationadvisor.com, Write to Meow, and Objects in the Rear View Mirror. She won first place for "Tiny Valentine", a poem and subsequent article, "Becoming a Grandmother”. She lives with her husband, two cats and a horse in Santa Cruz, CA. A favorite quote is “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, BC. He has a Bachelor's Degree in History with a background in Education (History, English, Theatre), and taught Writing and English at Western Canada College. To date he has written children's stories, a YA novel, adult short stories, an historical novel, and is currently working on a sequel. His short stories have been published or accepted for publication in Queen Anne's Revenge, The Opening Line Literary 'Zine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, and in anthologies published by Zimbell House, Main Street Rag, and Horrified Press. Read his blogs on writing at www.garthpettersen.com/ or follow him on twitter @garpet011
Bill Pippin is the author of Wood Hick, Pigs-Ear & Murphy, the narrative history of a northern Pennsylvania railroad/lumbering town. He began his writing career writing for men’s magazines and the confessions. He spent over 20 years in advertising and has taught creative writing at the college level for more than 15 years. His short story “Century” won first prize in the all-writer-voted Summer 2014 edition of Sixfold. His stories and essays have also appeared in the anthology Tattoos, The MacGuffin, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Newsweek, Field & Stream, Writer’s Digest, Philadelphia Magazine, Delaware Today, New Mexico Magazine, and many other publications. He lives in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico with his wife Zona.
Linwood Rumney’s poetry has appeared widely in journals like Ploushares, Southern Review, North American Review, Harpur Palate, Crab Orchard Review, and many others. His translations of Aloysius Bertrand, an early French prose poet, have appeared in The Adirondack Review, Arts & Letters, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. His nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review Online. An associate editor for Black Lawrence Press, he lives in Cincinnati, where he has received a PhD as a Charles Phelps Taft Fellow.
Leslie M. Rupracht is the longtime senior associate editor of Iodine Poetry Journal. She’s formerly a moonShine review prose and photography editor. Her poems, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, and visual art appear in various journals and anthologies. Leslie co-hosts a monthly featured reading and open mic night. Her poetry chapbook is Splintered Memories (Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2012). A 1997 transplant from New York to North Carolina, Leslie lives near Charlotte with her husband and rescued pit bull. An advocate for humane treatment of animals, environmental conservation, and sustainability, Leslie enjoys exploring nature with her camera and canine kid.
Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler is a former college president has published 5 books and 72 articles and has edited 22 books/proceedings and three national journals and continues to publish a newspaper column. In creative writing, she has 10 poetry chapbooks and 4 full-length collections, over 120 short stories, 4 novels, a novella, 2 short story collections (another in press), and 41 plays. “Some Things Die Harder” was her first short story. As North Carolina’s Central Region Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet 2013-2015, she mentored student and adult poets. She works as a writer and an editor. She and her husband have voyaged around the world five times, with Lynn writing all the way.
Marjorie Saiser’s fifth book of poems is I Have Nothing to Say About Fire (The Backwaters Press, 2016). Saiser’s poems have been published in American Life in Poetry, The Writer’s Almanac, Nimrod, Rattle.com, PoetryMagazine.com, RHINO, and Chattahoochee Review. She received the Willa Award for her novel in poems, Losing the Ring in the River.
Vivian Shipley is CSU Distinguished Professor and teaches at Southern Connecticut State University. New books in 2015 are The Poet ( Louisiana Literature Press at SLU) and Perennial (Negative Capability Press) which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her eighth book of poetry, All of Your Message Have Been Erased, (2010. SLU) won the 2011 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, the Sheila Motton Book Award from New England Poetry Club and the CT Press Club Prize for Best Creative Writing. Her chapbook, Greatest Hits: 1974-2010 was published by Pudding House Press in 2010. She won the 2015 Hackney Literary Award for Poetry, the Lucille Medwick Prize from Poetry Society of America, the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Prize, Ann Stanford Poetry Prize, the Marble Faun Poetry Prize, the Daniel Varoujan Prize, and the Hart Crane Prize.
Linda Simone wrote Archeology (Flutter Press, 2014) and poems in numerous journals and anthologies. Her work was selected by San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guererro for her 2016 Love Poems to San Antonio. Her work is forthcoming in Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems (Dos Gatos Press) and the Texas Poetry Calendar. She lives in San Antonio, Texas. http://www.lindasimone.com/.
Brian Slusher teaches at Mauldin High School and lives in Greenville, South Carolina with his wife Terri McCord and a border collie named Claire.
Carolyn Smuts is a freelance writer who taught history at the college level before fleeing academic life to write fiction. Her work has been featured in SELF, Glamour, Creative Living, Ultimate Motorcycling, and Business Week. Her most recent fiction works were published by Akashic Books, Omnific, Yellow Mama, and Jitter Press. She lives in Southern California.
Laurence Snydal is a poet, musician and retired teacher. He has published more than a hundred poems in magazines such as Caperock, Spillway, Columbia and Steam Ticket. His work has also appeared in many anthologies including Visiting Frost, The Poets Grimm and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Some of his poems have been performed in Baltimore and NYC. He lives in San Jose, CA, with his wife Susan.
Doug South lives in the sleepy Charlotte suburb of Mint Hill, North Carolina, where he wakes to deer in his back yard and cows calling to him from a field across the road. He hasn’t had work published in this century because he’s been busy living and the places that did publish his work in the 90s no longer exist. These days, when he’s not writing poetry, he’s traveling the countryside with his camera. The newest addition to his family is featured on the cover of this anthology.
Matthew J. Spireng’s most recent book of poems is What Focus Is (2011, Word Press). His book Out of Body won the 2004 Bluestem Poetry Award and was published in 2006 by Bluestem Press at Emporia State University. He is also the author of five chapbooks including Inspiration Point, which won the 2000 Bright Hill Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. His poems have appeared widely, including in North American Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, South Carolina Review, The Hollins Critic and Broad River Review.
Mike Tuohy was born in New Jersey in Eisenhower times and moved to Georgia in 1965. Currently a professional geologist working the environmental consulting racket in the southeast U.S., Mike still finds time to make friends, family and co-workers nervous as he chronicles the preposterous through short stories and novellas and soon, a novel. His work has been recognized in numerous writing competitions. 15 of his stories, including a Pushcart nominee, have been published. A two-time finalist in The New Yorker cartoon caption contest, he has a total of nine words in that prestigious publication.
Lisa Underwood earned her M.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in corporate communications at Wrangler, Cone Mills, the Guilford County School System and Salem Academy and College. She has written for the Greensboro News & Record, the Chapel Hill Newspaper and GW Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in Spirit of the Horse (Finishing Line Press 2016), Snapdragon Journal (2015) and Valle Crucis Publications. She received an honorable mention in the 2015 Burlington Writer Club Competition. A member of the N.C. Writers Network and the Writers Group of the Triad, Underwood attended the 2015 Squire Summer Residency program at East Carolina University, where she studied poetry writing with Amber Flora Thomas. She lives in Greensboro with her husband, two sons, and four dogs.
MJ Werthman White. Dogs began insinuating themselves into fiction beginning with her first short story. When she started writing poetry she heard them scratching at the door, whines changing to indignant howls if their presence was ignored. And, as she studied watercolor, upon retiring after thirty-one years of public school teaching, she found the topics chosen by fellow students, their landscapes, bowls of fruit, vases of flowers, to be not nearly as interesting as a subject possessed of a cold, wet nose and a wagging tail. MJ lives in Ohio with her husband and the good dog, Nikki.
Creative Non-fiction: Thomas Gibbs, "Moved on"
Poetry: Richard Levine, "Dog"
Short Fiction: Edward Lodi, "The Return of the Wolves"
ALF rescues 40 beagles from research facility
Each broken leg was fitted with a brace,
pain being incidental in this context.
Now forty dogs have disappeared without a trace,
though memories can never be erased
when cruelty is both text and subtext.
Each broken leg was fitted with a brace,
while fear marked every canine face,
since none could know whose turn was next.
Now forty dogs have disappeared without a trace.
Their captors feel no shame for this disgrace.
To tell the truth, they’re vexed:
“Each broken leg was fitted with a brace,
and this experimental lab is sacred space!
The situation leaves us outraged and perplexed—
How can forty dogs just disappear without a trace?
A court considers details of the case:
Was this science or just sadistic pretext?
Each broken leg was fitted with a brace,
now forty dogs have disappeared without a trace.
They met at The Cove the previous spring. Savannah sat drinking with a group of four girls, two of whom he knew from various classes. He was admiring the brown hair with ribbons of blonde highlights that fell past her shoulders when her eyes flashed at him and he smiled back. She was in the midst of a story and suddenly slammed a fist down on the table. Her girlfriends laughed; one of them, a redhead, nodded her head several times and clapped.
After further reconnoitering, which led to a greeting, Derek and his buddy were invited to join them. Savannah, with hazel eyes, dark eyelashes, and he noticed as he sat next to her, braless, held his attention. Derek found her funny, incorporating a straight-face, put-on technique.
She claimed her father was an Episcopalian bishop whose last request her mother had denied.
“What was his last request?” Derek asked.
“Don’t shoot.” Said deadpan, it drew laughs. The alcohol helped.
Their side conversation ushered them to the bar where they sat and talked of school, movies, jobs. Savannah said part-time pay was so low it provoked theft from employers. She waited for his reaction before lamenting the difficulty of concealing the break-room microwave in one’s purse.
Their first date was enjoyable enough—dinner at Little Italy, and a movie (Hud, presented by the university film society). During dinner he asked if it was true that she had posed for Playboy—“girls of the Southeast or something.” He’d heard the rumor when he mentioned her name while playing poker. None of the guys could verify it though.
Her eyes blinked above a corner-of-the-mouth smile. “What if I did? What would you think of it?”
“Probably good money. Ever get any flack about it?” Great for her—if she did, he thought. It didn’t matter to him, although how many guys could say they went out with a girl from Playboy? It surprised him that she was no longer enrolled in school, but had dropped out of the local junior college and now worked as a receptionist for a law firm.
“What’s that like?”
“Phones, mail, some filing, some flirting.”
“You’re good at that.”
“You’d better believe it.” She smiled, and with a slender finger pushed angel-hair pasta onto her fork. “Those guys are my bosses. All of them.”
His fingers holding the stem of the wine glass, Derek turned it slowly. “These days they have to be careful with that.”
“Not really. They’re lawyers. I’m a receptionist.” Her hazel eyes focused on him. “I don’t mind. I got a tidy bonus last Christmas and I plan to get another this year.”
They ate in silence for a minute before she asked about the break up.
“What break up?”
“You and her.”
“Not much of a break up. About a year ago. It was a brief thing.”
“Just wondering. It doesn’t seem like you’re going through any termination shock.”
He wiped his mouth with the cloth napkin. “It wasn’t anything serious.”
She sipped her wine. “Have you ever been in love?”
“My high school girlfriend, I suppose. I don’t know if that counts.”
“I left for school. She’s a year younger. And now she’s off somewhere else.” He ordered two more glasses of wine and asked, “How about you?”
She shook her head. “I’ve been in cahoots before. But no real romance.”
He smiled. “Never heard it put that way. Cahoots. Been watching cowboy movies?”
“I’m not your ordinary girl.” She cocked her head to the side and crossed her eyes. “And I love cowboy movies.”
“I liked it, he was a fine bastard, but I prefer the old fashion shoot-‘em ups.”
He grinned and held up his empty glass. “Where’s that waiter? Anyway, here’s to hoping we can be in cahoots. At least.”
She tapped his glass. “Hear, hear!” And finished off her wine.
Two months later when his roommate, another business major, left to live with his girlfriend, Savannah moved into the house Derek rented.
With the domestic routine they learned about one another as young people tend to do. She found that he was serious about his courses and his plans for the future included a post-graduate degree and maybe law school.
Lucy, Derek’s beagle mix, didn’t take to Savannah at first, but she won the dog’s affection by bribing her with dog treats whenever Derek wasn’t around. He monitored Lucy’s food to keep her weight in check. Savannah, who as a child hadn’t been allowed to have a pet, thought a few treats here and there wouldn’t hurt. She often joked that Lucy was her boyfriend’s true love. Derek told stories he believed amusing about Lucy’s many quirks and eccentric behavior.
“Everyone thinks his pet is special,” she told him, “just like parents think their kids are special.”
“All right, she’s not special—except to me. By the way—you’re special too.”
“You know, shrinks refer to pets exploitive captives. Really.” She cocked her head to the side. “You talk to that dog like she’s human. It’s so typical. The dog owner talking to an animal that doesn’t understand a word. Like having a conversation with an imaginary friend.”
“That’s what you do with a dog—you talk to her. It’s comforting. And she does know words.”
“It’s the tone of voice they pick up on. I’m gonna start speaking Spanish to her. I bet her reaction’s the same as English, just by my tone of voice.”
“You speak Spanish?”
“Si. Hola. Taco. Puta. Adios!”
In Memory of Magnum
I take you along everywhere,
even to places you’re not allowed
typical access. While you’re not
at my side, you’re on my side—
and back, shoulders, feet and chest.
Reddish-blond and white, you cling
to my shirt and indigo stretchy jeans, wrap
my calves tight as a child unwilling to release
his dependent vise grip. One swipe
with the 3M roller of fur eradicating tape
and you’re free from me. And I you.
But I will glance
at a pant leg later today
and think how much I miss
your constant companionship.