Literary as hell.

Poetry by Donna Reis



Eight litters in five years, one crooked eye, teats enlarged

and pendulous, not the feathery Golden Retriever

of my dreams, but our eyes had already met. I wasn’t leaving

her with the breeder who reaped his profits and was dumping


Dawn at six-years-old. I intruded her in college classes,

the library, friend’s homes for dinner. Some asked me

to leave her outside, where she’d dutifully wait on the stoop.

When I returned, she’d bark her bliss, taking my hand in her mouth


pulling me to the car saying, You’re mine, all mine. Despite her

devotion, she was a primal huntress of woodchucks.

She’d shadow them, shake the backs of their necks

till they dangled lifeless. My boyfriend, a bit basic himself,


announced that tanned breasts excited him. Eager to please,

I bared my body to afternoon sun in a clearing in the woods.

Dawn came and went snuffling possibilities—then returned

plopping her kill at my feet.


Suddenly, the woodchuck came to life and charged me.

Just for a hoot, Dawn let me scramble over stones,

boobs jostling through briars, as I ran for my life,

then saved me with one fell swoop.


First Dogs


Researchers would give their eye teeth to discover

the first dogs. Were they stolen from wolves

by cave persons, or savvy beggars who stood

on hind legs, curling front paws for a scrap


of roasted Mastodon? They puzzle over pups

who ferry clumps of food to eat four feet from

their bowls. Are they shielding morsels from alphas,

or do they lack regard for carpeting?


Do we believe the fable of their delight in rolling

in the smelliest decay for fun—

or to disguise their scent from predators—

or is it revenge for enduring four-hour groomings?


If you ask your hound, he’ll look self-conscious,

then yawn, but the twitches and yelps

while he dreams reveal he’s the spirited adventurer

who charmed his way into our hearts.


Donna Reis’s debut poetry collection, No Passing Zone, published by Deerbrook Editions (December, 2012) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  She was the co-editor and contributor to the anthology, Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews, (Akron Poetry Series, 2005).  Her non-fiction book, Seeking Ghosts in the Warwick Valley, (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. 2003) has sold nearly 3000 copies.  She is the author of three poetry chapbooks.  Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.  Reis received her Master of Arts Degree in Creative Writing from City College, City University of New York in 2002.


  1. Judy Pedersen

    Two wonderful poems. Thank you.

    • Donna Reis

      Thank you, Judy. This is my first tweet ever!

  2. Pauline Johnston

    Thanks for the smile and the sweet memories of Dawn.

    • Donna Reis

      I still miss that girl!

  3. Kathy

    You paint pictures wonderfully, Donna!

    • Donna Reis

      Thank you, Kathy.

  4. Andrea Loftus

    Creative and clever, as always, Donna! :))

    • Donna Reis

      Thank you, Andrea. How’s your summer going?

  5. Kate Gallaher

    Delightful poetry, Donna!

  6. Michael Funge

    I enjoyed them both but especially liked Dawn. Did it really happen?? Funny, I laughed at the ending ! Thanks Donna

    • Donna Reis

      Yes, you can’t make this stuff up. LOL

  7. Anne Gayler

    Donna….as ever your poetry is like finding a quarter on the subway….a surprise, a gift, a delight….thank you.

    • Donna Reis

      Thank you, Anne. See you soon.

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