Day I Didn’t Need the Phone to Get Laid

His, “What’s up,”

and my, “Hey,”

in the silent morning walk by

whether or not the wave

was a sexual cue

I still take it


I hear “dude”

interpolated as insult

Penny Red Rose Lane

by my crunching on the leaves

the dog who can’t see

can follow me

how many inches of this

white looking for something

green to smell

old dog pants

in winter sun

bring her her water bowl

minimalist subway ads

something to read

too cold to walk the blocks

storm moves through the night sky

—fluid through the

dog’s ailing heart cough

plastic flower

where the dog pees

now that the snow has melted

sometimes she trusts the world around

enough to forward walk more

steps blind

like planted, uninflated

balloons the tulip

blooms: white, yellow, purp.

bed heat of your leg

the dog’s head on my shoulder

hear the heart beating

she stares back

with her blind eyes,

my dog the seer

while the dog sniffs and pees

I weed

yellow dandelion

dogs bound after words

as birds chorus above

weather shadows wavering

the dog’s bark annoys

because your inner thought

wants to sound out elsewhere

the dog hunts pee place

woodpecker drills for the grub

Evergreen, ground frost

on the way to vet hold

the dog like mom held

me after hospital

“What’s going on?” they ask

in the vet waiting room

“She’s dead,” man says.

our dog barks in pain

5:30 am

a poem in breath

you and me and our dog

third week of vet visits

three deer cross the road

in the dark

I find my blind dog

‘s paw

the tea kettle whistle

golden lamp light

dog needs vet again

the dog on guard

against my own bad dreams

lost in the dark

my dog’s racing heart

my aching head

her bed in my bed

blue light she draws air

death rattles morning after

the winter solstice

condolence chimes

coming through

we take a pre-snow storm drive

warmed up car leaving

waterbowl rattles in trunk

her empty pet bed

The Forest for the Fringe

In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself within a dark wood


marriage season over

in an actor’s fall sublet

lights on next door

the place next door

they got

the summer after the one

me and mine had—

since we had missed our chance,

he said,

to get something ever in the city


and we were turning forty.

and here

came our next decade…

the husband coming out

again (neighbor first gay

then trans man


last night

at a dinner party, it seems

something third and unspoken

where I already said too much

about Orville Peck, his covered-up face

a kind of curtain up above

a torso I blush

another glass of red, edibles.

(here is a picture of a

couple that once went both as Stevie

(dinner with a splitting couple

on the eve of another wedding


earlier my dog chewing her stick in the yard

birds being birds, the lawnmowers going

With works spanning fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose, Douglas A. Martin has published ten books, including Outline of My Lover, named an International Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement and adapted in part for the multimedia live film ballet, Kammer/Kammer. Douglas's most recent title, Wolf, creates narrative meditation around a sensationalized case of patricide and has been called “an anti true crime novel.” They teach at Wesleyan University and help direct Creative Writing there on campus.