Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

You sent me looking for the dog,

Your favorite, the one you loved more than me.

I wore your boots, too big for my feet,

because it had rained, and the fields were mud-black.

 

Your favorite, the one you loved more than me,

he would only come when I called.

It had rained and the fields were mud-black,

and I looked for him in the tall grass.

 

He would only come when I called.

The sycamores by the creek whispered at me,

while I looked for him in the tall grass.

Once I heard him howling over the hill.

The sycamores by the creek whispered at me,

and when I heard him howling over the hill,

I called his name and then yours.

I tripped and fell in mud, my hands all black.

 

I’d heard him howling over the hill,

and I could see you standing by your truck.

Watching you, I tripped and fell in mud,

then saw doves flying, and knew he was near.

 

I could see you standing by your truck

and thought, If I find him, maybe you’ll love me.

I’d seen the doves flying and knew he was near,

then he ran to me when I called his name.

 

I thought that now I’d found him, you’d love me.

You dropped to one knee, your arms outstretched.

He licked my hand and bounded ahead

and you looked so relieved, so happy.

 

You’d dropped to one knee, your arms outstretched,

and you called, but I couldn’t hear your words.

You looked so relieved, so happy, so thin,

and fading in the narrowing light.

 

You called, but I couldn’t hear what you cried

to your favorite, the one you loved more than me.

 

And you, fading in the narrowing light,

You sent me looking for the dog,

But the dog came back to me.

~ Lori Baker Martin

Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and she is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

Pas” and “Upon Seeing a Photo of Mrs. Ocey Snead” appeared first in The Midwest Quarterly. “The One You Loved” appeared first in The Knickackery.
Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate and the author or editor of over 20 books. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, where she teaches, she also offers community writing workshops widely, and with Kelley Hunt, Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. She founded the 150 Kansas Poems site where she is thrilled to work with many fine guest editor poets and witness powerful writing from and about the heartland.

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Comments on: "The One You Loved — By Lori Baker Martin" (5)

  1. txfen said:

    Very nice.

  2. Diane Wahto said:

    Good one. The repetition of lines gives it even more meaning. By the way, I have a dog like that. I rescued her, but it’s my husband she follows around all day.

  3. Lori, I have always found pantoums difficult to pull off, but you found just the perfect topic, syntax, and depth of feeling to make the poem come together. Powerful and poignant.

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