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Naming the Puppy

This summer, specifically July, I have had the great pleasure of participating in the Los Angeles Review of Books and USC Publishing Workshop. The experience has been a fantastic survey in jumpstarting a publishing project featuring some of the best in publishing from across America (and, specifically, Los Angeles).

We’ve had a wide variety of speakers – from Pacific Standard editor-in-chief Nicholas Jackson to Los Angeles literary icon Lynell George, high tech journalism thinker Jennifer 8 Lee to publishing tech genius Bob Stein – who all have shared so much of their time and energy with us publishing n00bs hoping to make some change in this world. Everyone who has come to share their story with us have been polymaths, people that people should know in and out of the publishing world.

And, of course, some have talked about dogs, even if briefly or backhandedly. Kim Dower, a poet and writer and publicity maven, is one of those people. West Hollywood’s Poet Laureate, Dower seems to always be processing the world through her poems. They’re light and sweet while being heavy and high minded. They’re lovely.

Also lovely? A poem she wrote about getting a new dog called “Naming The Puppy.” It’s so delightful! It represents that newfound adoration for a dog and the pressure of enabling these little lives. No, they are not people, of course, but their lives and the process of bringing their lives into yours is such a unique experience. Dower catches that in this little poem.

Please check it out below and sigh and think about how much you love puppies. You can also catch some more poems from her over at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Naming the Puppy
They’re young and in love
so they think of human names:
Zoe, Ruby, Judy — like the name
of a girl you’d sit next to in math.
They move on to dog baby names,
Lamby, Girl, Puppy.
They like Puppy so for an hour,
that’s what she’s called.
Come here, Puppy, they sing,
her paws — pink, tender — slide
across the room. Puppy’s a sweet name,
I tell them, but soon your puppy
won’t be a puppy, and when she hurtles
through the park her teeth locked
onto a sloppy stick, a pit bull chasing her down,
how’ll it sound when you call, Puppy, Puppy,
your voices airy as frisbees floating
across the grass. I watch the puppy lick
my son’s lips, nibble his girlfriend’s nose,
devour their faces, as if they were made of sugar,
devoted fur ball all ears and eyes,
eyes that have been on this earth before.
By dinnertime her name is Gwen,
a star’s name, a nurse’s, or what you’d call
the middle child of a noisy family.
I watch Gwen pour herself
into their arms. There is no name
for the way she loves them.
No name for a sun that shines only for you.

Photo via.

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