I try a new way of imagining people 
as dogs
as dogs it makes sense 
why anyone would be drawn to do anything 
just as dogs rub themselves 
in patches of grass
or suddenly lick a face

as dogs you can surely forgive
your mother
because she makes a funny dog
with frilly fur and worried eyes
and as a dog, is it so bad 
you spend so much time
recalling a certain smell
or staring too long and too intently
at a torn leaf in a hot tub 

a dog falls ill and says nothing
over time, they destroy the things they love

picture whoever is giving you trouble 
or whatever part of you desires more than it has
then see a dog 
pulling against the chain gripping his neck
or barely moving under a bench
watch the dog run away from everything it knows
do you blame them?

Copyright © 2021 by Rachel B. Glaser. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 25, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.