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last night, a strange dog tried to break into my house

June 15, 2009

black storm dog_red collar

And I only had one question for her: “Are you here to throw up on my manuscript, too?”

(The story of a dog throwing up on my manuscript is here; keep reading for the story about our canine intruder.)

* ** *

My manuscript is in God’s hands now. If the mailman is God, which he could be for all I know.

I read it through one last time this morning and found two typos: one on the second page and another in the title poem. Both are really bad places to have typos. How did I miss them before?

Anyway, “My Spirit Kamikaze” is on its way to its first ever destination, and I’m planning on sending it to two or three other places in the next few days before I lose my nerve.

It’s a good manuscript, and it’s either what the editors are looking for or it’s not. (This expresses neither confidence nor conceit — it’s what I’m telling myself so I can let it go off into the universe and attempt to find a home. It can be only what it is. If it connects with an editor, that’ll be great.)

Thank you to a few fine friends who allowed me to send it to them in February/March. If you remember, the act of sending it to you churned up all sorts of nervous, obsessive questions that in the end didn’t turn out to be that important. Thank you for allowing me to work that out of my system!

* ** *

Efforts on my Amelia Earhart poem and “The Red Poems” were interrupted by the push to get the manuscript finished by today’s postmark deadline, but I have been thinking about them continuously. Last night, in fact, I cooked dinner on the grill and noticed there was some red, some possible poem fodder sizzling on a medium-high flame. My husband asks, “Did you just take a picture of the vegetables?”

vegetable kabobs

I had just taken a picture of the vegetables, of course. I thought it was my red noticing for the day.

* ** *

What I didn’t know was that the universe had planned a red noticing that no one would believe if I hadn’t taken a picture: a black dog with a red collar shows up on a dark and stormy night at the house of the poet who just so happens to know a bit about the metaphorical black dog, the poet who just so happens to be writing a series of poems about the color red.

black storm dog_red collar2

I had never seen this dog in my life, but last night, we had a thunder and lightning storm, the kind of lightning that mimics daylight (even making shadows), the kind of rain that pools on the ground before it can be absorbed. Apparently, this dog was wandering the neighborhood when the storm started suddenly. I’m guessing our porch was the closest shelter. She was so upset by the thunder and lightning, she was trying desperately to get in the house: licking the window, pawing the window, trying to climb through the window.

I had already gone to bed, but my husband came to get me, announcing, “We have an intruder,” which usually means a mouse. I was much happier to see a 100-pound dog than a mouse. My husband was not. He is less afraid of rodents than he is strange, big dogs. (He is the logical one.)

It was acting weird (it was terrified!), and I was a little bit worried it had been hit by a car. So with the admonishment from my husband to be careful, I put on shoes and a raincoat over my pajamas, grabbed a leash and went outside to see if I could help her. She didn’t appear injured but also wasn’t interested in my reassurances. She wanted in! Her owner’s phone number was on her collar (thank goodness, I would have sat with her on the porch all night). I was of no comfort to her and so to calm her a bit, I brought her into our entrance way and offered her treats while we waited for her family to come get her.

Doggie news flash: If you try to break into the Sherwood’s house, they will bring you in out of the rain and try to feed you. They will also call your mother.

  1. June 15, 2009 1:25 pm

    I’m a horrible poetry friend. But I do love your ms. And your heart for black dogs with red collars. And photos of vegetables. (I should send you my husband’s red radishes in picture form.) You can call me for the mouse. I scoop them up in my clogs and release them outside. Hi.

  2. June 15, 2009 2:34 pm

    you’re a wonderful poetry friend, deb. wonderful. and i just may call you for a mouse. those little things freak me out. have you ever seen one flatten itself out to squeeze inside a door frame or underneath something? so creepy. πŸ™‚ remember that tall and strong girl in the forest? she is a stand-on-the-furniture girl when it comes to mice.

  3. June 15, 2009 2:58 pm

    Bon voyage to your ms, I hope it is snatched up fast. And good on you for saving the dog, I’d have done the same πŸ™‚ I don’t mind rodents, though I prefer em fluffy like my guineas!

  4. June 15, 2009 3:09 pm

    thanks for your good wishes, jo! i like guinea pigs in theory but when it comes down to it, i’m all talk. something in me reacts to them the same way i react to mice. πŸ™‚

  5. June 15, 2009 4:36 pm

    it is so exciting at your house! i pray for a stray cat to come to my door–rain, sleet, snow, sunshine…to no avail. i have to go out and find them myself!

  6. Michelle permalink
    June 16, 2009 4:15 am

    I’m sending all the best vibes in the world as My Spirit Kamikaze makes its way into the world, Carolee.

    I love this – and can picture it so clearly:

    My husband asks, β€œDid you just take a picture of the vegetables?”

    Beware of knocking on your door. Next time it may not be a black dog with a red collar, but an African stray πŸ˜‰

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