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Walt McDonald
Walt McDonald
Walt McDonald was born in 1934 in Texas. In addition to serving...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Dogs
from The Dogs
by Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog)
by A. Van Jordan
Deep Lane
by Mark Doty
Flush or Faunus
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
for yam sir: elevated blues
by Abraham Smith
Lost and Found
by Ron Padgett
Mother Doesn't Want a Dog
by Judith Viorst
Roadside Attractions with the Dogs of America
by Ada Limón
Shooting the Dog
by June Jordan
The Marble Faun
by Amy King
The Power of the Dog
by Rudyard Kipling
Who Is God? So Asked Our Dog
by Dara Wier
Poems about Pets
Eighth Air Force
by Randall Jarrell
Flush or Faunus
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Goldfish Are Ordinary
by Stacie Cassarino
Mother Doesn't Want a Dog
by Judith Viorst
My Grandmother's White Cat
by Maurice Kilwein Guevara
Next Day
by Randall Jarrell
Ode on the death of a favorite cat
by Thomas Gray
Stones in the Air
by Anna Journey
That Sure is My Little Dog
by Eleanor Lerman
tomorrow I leave to El Paso, Texas
by Juan Felipe Herrera
Yellow Beak
by Stephen Dobyns
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Jogging with Oscar

 
by Walt McDonald

When I take my dachshund jogging, boys and widows gawk 
and stop tossing balls or lopping limbs off shrubs.  They call 
and point at long, pot-bellied Oscar trotting like a rocker horse, 
tongue wagging, dragging on grass when he hops over skateboards, 

long muzzle wide as if laughing, eager, sniffing the breeze. 
All Oscar needs is a tree like a mailbox, postcards from dogs 
he barks at at night, and odd whiffs he can't place.  When he stops 
and squats, up runs a neighbor's collie tall as a horse, 

stalking like a swan meeting an eel, muzzle to muzzle in dog talk, 
collie tail like a feather fan.  Wherever we go, we're not alone 
for an hour, devoted hobblers on the block, the odd couple-- 
long-legged bony man jogging along, obeying the leash law, 

the black, retractable nylon sagging back to Oscar, who never balks 
or sasses when I give the dangling leash a shake, but trots to me 
desperate for affection, panting like a dog off to see Santa, 
willing to jog any block for a voice, a scratch on the back. 

I've seen that hunger in other dogs.  I watched my wife 
for forty years brush dogs that didn't need the love he does. 
When my children visit, my oldest grandsons trot with him 
to the park, that glossy, auburn sausage tugging and barking, 

showing off.  The toddlers squat and pat him on his back. 
They touch his nose and laugh, and make him lick them on the lips. 
Good Oscar never growls, not even if they fall atop him. 
He was a gift from them, last Christmas, a dog their pop 

could take for walks and talk to.  Oscar would have loved my wife, 
who spoiled and petted our old dogs for decades, coaxing them up 
for tidbits on the couch beside her, offering all the bliss 
a dog could wish for, a hand to lick, a lap to lay their heads. 

Oh, he's already spoiled, barks at bluejays on his bowl, 
fat and lonely unless I'm home.  But how groomed and frisky 
he could be if she were here, how calm to see us both 
by the fire, rocking, talking, turning out the lights. 

For Grandfather, in memory of Grandmother Anna







From Blessings the Body Gave, published by Ohio State University Press. Copyright © 1998 by Walt McDonald. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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