'He’s friendly they yell, 50 yards back'

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The title of the poem, 'The Love Ridge Loop', is, no doubt, something of a joke, an exaggeration built on irony. After all, the poem is an ironic love poem, and, at the same time, an anti-dog poem. But it allows for something else, a poem about the unreliability of affection, of how, in love, we dare not admit to the animal danger in those we love or, at least, own in love. Abbie Kiefer’s poem resonates nicely for those of us who view with deep scepticism, the expressed assurances of our safety by pet owners, while we walk among unleashed dogs in our neighbourhoods. 

 

THE LOVE RIDGE LOOP

by Abbie Kiefer

 

In disregard of the signs,

no one bothers

with leashes,

dogs barreling unbounded

over every grooved path.

He’s friendly they yell,

50 yards back. Don’t worry,

he’s darling, a cuddlepie

of a pup. I’m never

not wary. Show me any person

who could call their dearest

unworthy. Who would warn me

Walk wide. He’s teeth and more

teeth. This creature I love

beyond my control.

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2021 by Abbie Kiefer, 'The Love Ridge Loop' from Nashville Review, August 1, 2021. Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by the Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska

 

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