Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Jack Conway


“You’re not so smart,” she said. “Or at least as smart
as you pretend to be,” she said shaking a stick at me.
I wasn’t offended by her remarks. It seemed as good
a place as any for us to start a dialogue. “If you’re so
smart, why did you run over my dog?” she said. “I
didn’t run over any dog,” I said. “Well, why’s he lying
in the driveway that way?” “Well, because he’s dead.”
“Dead?” she said, sounding surprised. “Then you did
run over him.” “No,” I said. “Things die sometimes
of natural causes. Maybe he was old,” I said somewhat
at a loss. “No, he wasn’t old. I just got him yesterday.
He was just a pup. And now, there he is, lying in the
driveway squashed. There’s tire tracks running up and
down his back. What do you have to say about that?”
What could I say if she was going to behave that way?
Still I couldn’t help the deep sense of satisfaction I
derived from telling her I didn’t drive. “Well, how did
you get here,” she asked. “Fly?” “I walked,” I said.
“Besides that dog has been dead for days.” She pointed
the stick to where the dead dog lay. “For days? You
don’t say,” she said. “Imagine that? I was supposed
to take him for a walk,” she said and began to weep.
“All this time I thought he was asleep. Well, now
my burden is lifted. What a relief. So we can stay
here and talk,” she said. “I don’t know if I can stay
here with that dog lying there like that,” I said.
“So that’s it?” she said tossing away the stick.
“Well, suit yourself. I have to find a new pet.” she
said and left. “Not so smart,” I said beneath my
breath. “I’m not the one that been trying to play
fetch with a dog that’s been dead for over a week.”

***

Jack Conway’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Antioch Review, The Columbia Review, Yankee, The Potomac and The Norton Anthology of Light Verse, among others. He is the author of My Picnic With Lolita and Other Poems published by North Country Press in 2004. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and Bristol Community College in Fall River.

© Jack Conway

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012