National Poetry Writing Month has entered its 19th day.
The dog wants to eat. It is time, he implies, shuffling sideways to the steel bowl and nudging it with his nose so it makes a metallic scraping noise sliding across the ceramic floor tiles, raising his wet, brown eyes to meet my gaze for a moment and then dropping his head submissively. I check my watch and shake my head, explaining that he must wait another twenty-seven minutes so we can maintain the strict regimentation of our schedule, and I leave the kitchen, returning to the living room and sinking into the soft beige microfiber cushions. He follows and stands silently in front of me, as still as one of the children’s stuffed animals. I am unsure how long he stands like that, because I turn away to show my disinterest in his plight. He weighs my body language in his canine brain and changes course, moving forward and placing his left paw on my arm and scratching me softly. I turn to him and yell, and he begins to whimper and trot in circles, like a toddler who has to pee, all the while whimpering at a pitch human ears can barely detect. He shoves his muzzle in my face and licks eagerly, then backs out of swatting range and increases the volume of his pleas. I sit up, my will cracking, and he sprints to the kitchen, where I can hear his toe nails clicking near his food dish, which he bangs as if it is New Year’s Eve, until I finally enter, drop three scoops of kibble in his bowl, and place it in front of him. He sits, awaiting permission, a spaghetti noodle of drool dangling from his open mouth. Finally, I tell him Okay, and he leaps forward, satisfied.