Brute Optimism by Devon Balwit

My dog loves to hump, throw a leg over,
pump like a jack hammer, stupid-faced,
tongue lolling.  He mounts again and again,
happy to play out the same bonkless bonk,
front paws dangling, head pressed
to twitching flank.  He won’t take no
for an answer, won’t back down
all hang dog.  He does his two-legged randy
man shuffle, penis sheathed or snaky,
until bitten or chased away.  What
optimism, what willingness to take what he
can get—a flip, a tussle, a roll in dewy
stalks, even being nipped and run, hackles
high, by the indignant. He doesn’t care
about size or fancy collar, breed or name.
Any dog that shows up is just right.
My dog sloughs scorn like water, a brisk
shake, a leap on me for affirmation, then
rocking away once more.  Good dog.

Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook, Forms Most Marvelous, forthcoming from dancing girl press (summer 2017). Her recent poems can be found in: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Noble Gas Quarterly, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine, Vector, and Permafrost.

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