The History of Dogs


poem by Carrie Shipers


After Dorianne Laux

Canus lupus familiaris, descended
from the gray wolf. Predators
& scavengers, pack hunters
with complex body language,
fused wristbones & tearing teeth.
Man’s best friend. Bred to hunt
& herd, stand guard & carry burdens.
Crucified in ancient Rome,
slaughtered in Malta, flayed alive
in London to show how our blood
moves. Conditioned by Pavlov
to drool on cue, sent into space,
blinded for research & better cosmetics.
The only animal that can follow
finger-points, read human faces.
Curled on laps, against our feet,
in the center of our beds. Offered
organic food, spas & cemeteries all
their own. Driven by hunger, will eat
human remains, even of those they love.



Carrie Shipers