Martin J. Elster


The Doggy Diner

As Mrs. Arden beamed and steered
me toward her house across the garden
a dog—white, furry, huge—appeared,
eyeing me and Mrs. Arden.
As we walked in, the Great Pyrenees—
dirt stuck to fur, long strings of drool
dangling from lips—this carnivore
followed me in and ate the cheese
and rusks on the table straight away.
He then traipsed round in search of more
hors d’oeuvres but found dessert—the fool
(fruit and custard)—the soufflé
and the remainder of our meal;
then jumped up on an easy chair,
circled, settled, and closed his eyes.
“That dog’s got a wolfish appetite!”
I said. But all she did was glare.
Though I tried hard to be polite,
she never smiled. Her eyes were steel.
While the dog was sleeping like a lamb
we simply sat, had nothing to say.
As I dropped my napkin, about to rise,
she said, “Please, take your dog, okay?”
Mine? I thought he was your dog, ma’am.”
And then she laughed, and all was fine—
until he went and drank the wine.

Martin J. Elster lives in Hartford, Connecticut. He was, for many years, a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In addition to playing and composing music, Martin finds contentment in long walks in the woods or the city and in writing poetry, which often alludes to creatures and plants he encounters on his walks. Martin’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad. A full-length collection, Celestial Euphony, was published by Plum White Press in 2019.