can find no dignified
place to shit.
Urban dogs squat on street corners
and cracked concrete sidewalks
their owners distracted
plastic bag in hand
at the far end of the leash.
Urban dogs must get along
in the sandy dog run
in Washington Square—
dobermans and poodles pugs
and beagles must play together nicely
their territorial instincts
repressed and quivering.
Urban dogs have nails worn short
and paws grown calloused from
sidewalks and broken glass
or their claws grow long in pile
carpet gazing out of penthouse windows.
Urban dogs watch the birds in Central Park
and wish that they too could get away
for the weekend.
(First published in The Legendary, 2009)