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 [email protected] 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. 

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