Big Dog, Little Dog

Listen to Wyatt Prunty read this poem.

The one two times the other’s size,
Eight inches closer to the Master’s hand,
Twelve pounds more instrumental through the door,
Was also twice as given unto doubt:
Would there be more for her? Was she best loved?
Would Alpha always have her dish filled first?

Because the Smaller’s mouth took longer with
Her food, the Big was certain she got less,
Until desire became a kind of grief,
And in despond she circled, sighed, then clumped
Down in the corner where her sorrowful eyes
Bathed over a vision of indifferent feet.

How turn such thinking back to happiness?
I broke the food the way we’re taught with bread,
Scattering the pieces in all the likely
And unlikely places possible,
So now she had to hunt to eat, to live,
Till the floors ran in an ecstasy of snuffling.

I broke the object to its lesser parts,
Dividing each from each so there seemed more,
(Desire needs lack as much as what’s desired).
Then labor filled her want with multitudes
Of smaller bites, hard swallowing, a bliss
Of quick-jawed work that lived for hunger.

Meanwhile, the Little Dog ate without noticing.