“This book started with a dog – my dog. I began writing poems about him in a dark time, when I needed comfort and he was there. Friends, reading the poems, told me their feelings about their dogs, which spurred me to create more poems. When my editor read the collection, she asked a “What If?” question: “What if we were to ask teens to write about their dogs, and include those stories with their poems?”
You are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.
If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.
Oh that languid, movie-star drape!
I can never resist it.
Digging my fingers into your fur,
How do you dream?
What do you adore?
Why should your black silk ears
feel like happiness?
This is how it is with love.
it steps in gently,
and takes up as much space
as you will give it.
“I wake up every morning and know if we had not saved him that day he surely would have died. Now, Ninja claims our brick bench outside as his throne, sitting like a gargoyle atop an ancient castle wall, ever vigilant, protecting the family he loves, and his princess – me.”
Doug Mindell’s extraordinary photographs set these poems and essays off perfectly – I found myself gazing into soulful eyes of all sorts of dogs and being grateful for loving dogs and always having had the companionship of one (or two and three at a time) for as long as I can remember.
You can visit Joyce Sidman’s website to learn of her other, equally enjoyable, works, where you can also listen to her reading some of her poems.