Seven Dogs

By Andrea Cohen, November 2010, Updated February 2015

The life of a man
is measured by seven dogs.

The first dog says: and now
we shall eat and lap

water and walk in the woods.
We will sleep often in sunny spots.

There will be much
chasing of squirrels, but we

will not speak of death.
Then the man speaks

of death to himself, but
not to the second dog, who

must learn to heel
and come, and this goes

on. Seven dogs. And then one
evening the seven dogs

come to him with seven
sets of slippers. It is a

they never mastered in life.
Is it time? he asks. And

he follows his pack, good
dog that he is, into the woods.

From Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry, 2010)

This poem will also appear in Andrea Cohen’s forthcoming collection, Kentucky
Derby (Salmon Poetry, 2011).

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 62: Nov/Dec 2010