Dog poetry: Weighing the dog

Dog poetry: Weighing the dog

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by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-03)

It is awkward for me and bewildering for him

as I hold him in my arms in the small bathroom,

balancing our weight on the shaky blue scale,

but this is the way to weigh a dog and easier

than training him to sit obediently on one spot

with his tongue out, waiting for the cookie.

With pencil and paper I subtract my weight

from our total to find out the remainder that is his,

and I start to wonder if there is an analogy here.

It could not have to do with my leaving you

though I never figured out what you amounted to

until I subtracted myself from our combination.

You held me in your arms more than I held you

through all those awkward and bewildering months

and now we are both lost in strange and distant neighborhoods.