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Image by Johannes Plenio

Ghosts of every dog

whoever owned you
come to your home
to walk you unleashed
through the moonless forest
warning you to watch your step
where lovestruck newts waddle
seeking romance over leafy floor.

Ghost dogs pause to study
scent of bobcat recently peed,
then plow through brush
as four-footed cannonballs
after a rabbit who always escapes
and they wonder why you won’t help.

Senses enhanced
you hear footsteps of spiders
snores of squirrels cuddled in nests
tingling presence of owl
as pant-pant-panting
on no road no path
you run with spirits
who can smell your fatigue.

Yes they will guide you home,
fill a bowl of kibble for your soul.
Unconditional, they love you still.

Joe Cottonwood lives under redwood trees in La Honda, California dodging wildfires and playing with grandchildren. He is the author of the underground novel Famous Potatoes. His most recent book of poetry is Random Saints.


  1. Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      I’m really glad I found this thanks to a note by one of your readers. It is really wonderful.


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