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IN PRAISE OF DOGS WHO HOWL AT THE MOON
by John Brantingham

Some nights,
everything on Earth is loose,
and you feel yourself slipping off gravity’s
mooring, slipping off into
the night, feel the moon’s going to grab
you and pull you out into space
and slingshot you past Mars and Jupiter
out to where Pluto
and all the rest of the solar system’s losers live,
out where you will never see
you wife laugh the way she
laughs when you do your impression of her father,
laugh the way a person can laugh only
when it’s funny but she’s ashamed too,
laugh with the wild joy of a bear
waking up after months of sleep—
on those nights you want to grab onto something
wedged deep and tight as a burr in a furry ear
and scream your complaints at the moon
as the dogs howl
and the bears roar and everyone shouts
together—you want to yell that no one
belongs out there in the cold with Pluto
that we belong here where summer love is
and anyone who loves and howls
is one of Earth’s favorite children.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  John Brantingham’s poetry and fiction have been published in hundreds of magazines and venues, including Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Pearl, Tears in the Fence, Confrontation, and The Journal. His books include East of Los Angelesand Let Us All Pray to Our Own Strange Gods (forthcoming from World Parade Books). He works at Mt. San Antonio College, where he teaches English and directs the creative writing programs.

“In Praise of Dogs Who Howl at the Moon” and other poetry by John Brantingham appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology(June 2013), available at Amazon.com.

Illustration: “Luna and the Moon Wolf,” watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio. Prints available at etsy.com.