about the author

Eric Roy has poetry recently published or forthcoming in Spillway, Green Mountains Review, The Minnesota Review, Rhino, Tar River Poetry, Tampa Review, and elsewhere. He has won awards for his teaching (Teacher of the Year - Virginia College, Austin 2014), his chili (13th Annual ACCA Cook-Off - 1st Place), and his poetry (2015 KGB Open Reading ‘After the AWP’ Winner). He is currently the over-night pitmaster at Morgan’s in Brooklyn.

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One Poem 

Eric Roy

The Last Dog

Owning a dog can cause a person to live longer
but now, at 73, you think it might not be a good idea.
Lately, when alone, you tell yourself you’re okay
with solitude, see the solid weight of it as a kind
of companion too. The first dog—solitude showed up
and began patrolling around those first few man-
made fires. Been loyal and reliable ever since.
The least you can do now is take him for a walk.
When the door opens, see him standing there
looking up at you? Open the door further,
follow him back out into the front yard. His attention
might be diverted by some squirrel, a bird or two,
but he’s never far off from calling distance,
ahead inspecting trees, rolling in the neighbor’s lawn,
searching for evidence of others to cover with himself.
He howls day or night at sirens or the sound of trains.
Think back to your younger days, a crowded party,
a new city, you’ve always felt his presence, he was there.
And soon, when it’s time, when you can no longer stay,
he’ll be right there with you. He’ll always be with you.
You don’t have to worry about leaving solitude
behind to become a stray or someone else’s burden.
This is not last dog you will ever own.
The one you posted signs for before finding him
alongside the service road, his fur the one thing
moving after you shooed away the flies.

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