Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: The Lady and the Tramp

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Though his mother and her dog are now gone, Bruce Guernsey of Bethel brings them back in today’s poem -- an odd couple, perfectly matched.

The Lady and the Tramp by 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.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2008 Bruce Guernsey. Reprinted from From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010, Ecco Qua Press, 2012, by permission of Bruce Guernsey. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.