Pavlov’s Dog

By Derek JG Williams

I chase my shadow all morning. The neighbors watch
from between drawn curtains.

I tear up clumps of lawn until my blood churns how it does
when the bell rings. I sit in the sun and pant.

Next time I’ll lunge for his throat. But the bell sounds
and I love him still. When I run away, it’s to nowhere

special. There’s a certain slant of moon
I seek. It changes the angle of my longing.

Hunger is the pain I can’t be free of—when I’m sitting
in the sun I love him.

I’m never free. I’ll lunge for his throat. The neighbors will say
I told you so.

Derek JG Williams is the author of Poetry Is a Disease, forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press. He teaches writing courses online and develops curricula for GrubStreet. His poems and prose are published or forthcoming in Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Spillway, Best New Poets, Yemassee, Adroit Journal, Poet Lore, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, and on Boston’s MBTA trains as a part of the city’s Poetry on the T program. He lives in Germany with his wife. You can visit his website at:

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