Katherine Barrett Swett



She halts, nose out, paw up, a long sleek line.
She’s still and silent, I’m the one to whine,
“We’ve got to go! forget the pigeons, please!”
but nothing makes a Brittany unfreeze.
I picked this breed for its soft floppy ears,
but they’ve been bred to point for many years,
and point they will and I’ll just have to wait.
As tactless neighbors all congratulate
me on this sign of instinct and true breeding,
I keep on yanking her; I keep on pleading.
Meanwhile the local Corgi nips at heels,
and ancient Dachshunds roll upon their wheels.
Jack Russells yap; a blue-eyed Husky howls,
an English Bull Dog shakes her deep creased jowls.
I think a mixed breed might be best of all—
a dog who comes when I, not instincts, call.

Katherine Barrett Swett has published poems in various journals including The Lyric, Rattle, Mezzo Cammin, The Raintown Review, Softblow, and Measure. Her sonnets have twice been finalists for the Nemerov Prize. Erica Dawson selected Swett’s collection, Voice Message (Autumn House Press 2020), for the 2019 Donald Justice Poetry Prize.