Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.

  • Mark Doty, “Golden Retrievals” from Sweet Machine: Poems. Copyright © 1998 by Mark Doty. Reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

  • Source: Sweet Machine: Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1998)

Poet Bio

What People are Saying

"While the competition and chance to recite is wonderful in itself, there is a very strong camaraderie among the competitors like nothing I've experienced before. It's the kind of environment that has inspired me and allowed me to grow not only as a reciter but also as a poet, performer, and person."
Savina Magdalena Barini
2014 ID POL Champion