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The Blue Moon Review

by Benjamin Scott Grossberg
standard poodle.  His dog

had a seizure before

I was in the apartment two minutes:

pointed its snout to the ceiling

and froze up, stiffened, emitted

no high, penetrating whine.  Just

silence.  Later, in bed,

he explained it had been beaten 

severely as a pup.  But

that it was still a good dog.  Nice

to be able to share the intimate details

of his dog’s childhood 

afterward, our pillow talk.  He was

the first man I’ve ever been with who

faked an orgasm.  Or maybe others 

faked it better.  Not to be

a cad, I asked.  He kept his body

to the side and quietly explained that

“there wasn’t a lot.”  “What’s with

your dog,” I said,

swinging my feet off the bed

to the pile of clothes on the floor, mine

and his.  Poodle rescue.  He’d hoped

to show the dog, even had

its hair cut right, undignified

for such a serious-looking animal.

You know, once you’ve had sex

with enough men, you learn to draw

reasonably accurate conclusions; this guy

was molested young.  How

do I know that?  I laced my boots

while he told me about the time he tried

to show the dog.  It was too timid.

Wouldn’t even enter the room; all 

its training went out the window.  Partially

I know by the behavior

he coaxed me into: the scripted

entrances and exits, the cues, props 

to appear in one act, to be fitfully 

discharged in another.  His script:

neither violent nor elegant, but 

his pleasure had no part in it.  The dog 

approached again 

after I dressed, laid its black head 

on my knee and looked up 

with vulnerable eyes.  

I cupped its head briefly in my lap

and stroked its ears.

He was out of the room by then

so I spoke to the animal.  “You’re 

a good boy,” I said.  “A good boy.”

Benjamin Grossberg lives on a small farm in Ohio and works as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Antioch College. His poems have appeared in journals such as Nimrod, The Malahat Review and Green Mountains Review. He has work forthcoming in Pleiades, Tampa Review, and Paris Review. In 2003, he received a fellowship for poetry from the Ohio Arts Council.

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