Illustration by Isidro Xilonzóchitl, copyright Judy Dykstra-Brown, 2020
Doggies of the Realm
In seeking to coordinate the canines of the realm,
they formed a grand committee with a countess at the helm
to account for all the dachshunds and classify the terriers,
find greyhounds in their kennels and yorkies in their carriers,
to track down the grand pyrenees up in the highest rocks,
to record all the lapdogs and dalmatians on their walks.
At first strict in her discipline in separating breeds,
in protecting bloodlines and meeting owners’ needs,
when her helpers warned her that they’d run out of spaces,
she had to capitulate in order to find places.
Since they’d run out of kennels, she had to loosen rules.
She locked labs in the closets, tied boxers to the newels.
Put shih tzus in the cupboards and toy poodles in the drawers,
stored retrievers in the boathouse, tied Chihuahuas to the oars.
She felt she’d scored the jackpot when the prisoners all made bail
and so they handed over the former county jail.
She converted all the cellblocks into canine cages
and began to fill up rosters—pages upon pages.
At first she sorted breeds using a system alphabetical,
but later sorting systems became more hypothetical,
and as her sorting powers eroded over time,
soon she had her doggies classified by rhyme.
For example, in the cages assigned to standard poodles,
she filled the extra corners with the labradoodles.
She recorded canines of every breed and size—
dogs with every length of hair, in every shape and guise,
until at last she had them all down in black and white—
every wagging tail and every growl and bite.
So the snappers and the lickers, the yappers and the yippers
got to go back home to retrieve their masters’ slippers!!
Prompt words today are realm, coordinate, jackpot, capitulate and walk.