He said we’d rename every dog we saw
because it’s a better game than love.
I name every dog after favorite poem titles:
I call the golden, “If all of my relationships
fail and I don’t have any kids, do I even know
what love is?” He nicknames the dog
knowledge. I name the chihuahua “Fiction”
to save time. There is no nickname for fantasy.
The husky is “Things.” The German
short-haired pointer is “On Being Cautioned
Against Walking on a Headland Overlooking
the Sea Because it is Frequented by a Lunatic.”
He nicknames the dog caution. For every word,
there is a sentence unspoken, an owner
that chooses not to revise their love daily.
Today, I rename myself “Ugly Music.”
Tomorrow, I might call the dogs “You Can Take Off
Your Sweater, I’ve Made Today Warm.”
Crystal Stone is the author of two collections of poetry, Knock-Off Monarch (Dawn Valley 2018) and All the Places I Wish I Died (CLASH 2021). Her work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Hopkins Review, Poetry Daily, Salamander, and many others. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Iowa State University, where she gave a TEDx talk entitled ‘The Transformative Power of Poetry.’ You can find her at her website www.crystalbstone.com.