Looking at gathered chicken bones

a manmade beaver dam on a plate   takes me


back to my mutt   Lady   shepherd mixed with

another soup in doggy DNA   How apropos


even for humans   She would devour these bones

mixed with her crunchy dog dinner   I scrape


the scraps into the garbage  thinking I eat chicken

when dogs today eat shrimp   filet mignon   rice


and vegetables   not table scraps   How heavy that

word “change”   Were we lucky no bones ever


got stuck in her throat?   Or did evolution change

the way dogs take things in  with all this hybrid-


mixing?   Were my parents lucky   as well   no bones

of catfish   of buffalo   got stuck in my throat?


What are the wolf   the coyote   the wild dog   and stray

doing incorrectly when eating boney things?


I place greasy plate under hot sink water   wash

away residue of centrical thoughts   When a boy


we took in hairy wet strays   As a man   the streets

are strayless   The bones in garbage   singing


Photo by catd_mitchell


About Author

Curtis L. Crisler was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. He received a BA in English, with a minor in Theatre, from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and he received an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He has two poetry books out: Don’t Moan So Much (Stevie): A Poetry Musiquarium (Kattywompus Press) and “This” Ameri-can-ah (Cherry Castle Publishing). His recent poetry chapbook Black Achilles (Accents Publishing) was released in 2015. His previous books are Pulling Scabs (nominated for a Pushcart), Tough Boy Sonatas (YA), and Dreamist: a mixed-genre novel (YA). Other chapbooks are Wonderkind (nominated for a Pushcart), Soundtrack to Latchkey Boy, and Spill (which won the 2008 Keyhole Chapbook Award). He is the recipient of a residency from the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh (COA/P), the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Soul Mountain, and guest resident at Hamline University. He edited the nonfiction book, Leaving Me Behind: Writing a new me, on the Summer Bridge experience at IPFW. Crisler received a Library Scholars Grant Award, two Indiana Arts Commission Grants, the Eric Hoffer Award, the Sterling Plumpp First Voices Poetry Award, and was nominated for the Eliot Rosewater Award. His poetry has been adapted to theatrical productions in New York and Chicago, and he has been published in a variety of magazines, journals, and anthologies. He is Contributing Poetry Editor for Aquarius Press, and one of the Poetry Editors for Human Equity through Art (HEArt). Crisler is an Associate Professor of English at IPFW.

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