“Advice for Taking Care of Your Girlfriend’s Dog” by Ace Boggess

Reading by the author

Give her treats, & she will love you,
although you prefer cats, cat-like aloofness,
occasional tenderness. Cut them up &

sprinkle about so her frenzied mouth
won’t overreach in haste like the second Iraq war
or decision to carpet-bomb Cambodia—

death in, death out. She will love you
although you prefer silence
to her trumpeting pleas, would rather not

clean up her messes, empty dirty water from her bowl.
You possess the pouch that excites,
her sudden benefactor.

All the rest is busyness to pass the time
until you give, & she will love you
although you prefer your happiness to hers.

Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press in 2021.

Image: “Werk” by Matthew Klein

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