Vincent Worsley :: The Dogs Are Out ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, in the suburb belly of hill country. My neighborhood is prowled by feral cats and the occasional stray dog— those dogs are the core of this poem, “The Dogs are Out,” which describes my childhood urge to love to the breaking point. The poem is a reflection of how I saw the world, the boiling summer air and asphalt, the torn-up grass and the innocence of being bullheaded in love, like my parents were before me.

The Dogs Are Out

I loved my sneakers like childhood dogs
Not the ones you own in your house
But the ones that scamper around the neighborhood
With more mange than fur
And tongues lolling out flat from the sides
I loved those sneakers til they were worn out roadkill
Ripped open with holes
Like a childhood dog
That ran down an empty highway
Chasing some invisible prey
So eager to run and bound and be loved
I didn’t notice when the soles fell out
And the laces snapped
And the highway was no longer a safe place
For your scruffy, wild, raggedy and oblivious
Childhood dogs.