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What would Fido say about you? This community poem takes pets' point of view

<em></em>Kwame Alexander's latest crowdsourced poem explores the world through the eyes of <em>Morning Edition</em> listeners' pets.
Sam Yeh
/
AFP via Getty Images
Kwame Alexander's latest crowdsourced poem explores the world through the eyes of Morning Edition listeners' pets.

We asked and your pets answered.

NPR poet-in-residence Kwame Alexander shares his latest community crowd sourced poem from pet owners around the country, from ages six to 86.

We heard from over 700 of you, sharing the words of what your pets might be thinking about you, their next meals, their next adventures, their next cuddles and more.

Read Alexander's poem, titled Dear Captor: You Talk, I Wonder.


Hi, My name is Larry Longshanks

And for my folks I give thanks.

My name is Leo and I am a dog

Once I was let outside to almost eat a frog

Fluffy, the pre-school hamster

I am the 6th to bear the name.

I try to live my life with dignity and grace, resigned to my fate.

But some day, when one of them takes me home,

I swear I will make my escape.

It's dark and cold. I can hear the other prisoners barking.

I don't begrudge you that last trip to the vet four days ago.

The women fed me remarkable treats.

My needs are so few:

Food, water, toys, and outdoors

A clean litter box

I am a stinky dog.

I lick, jump, eat everything

I sniff, I pee

I smell every tree

Who was here before

Sharp and soft in your residential jungle, dear captor, I listen to your whispering eyelash and your swishing pulse, but I hear beyond: scraping step of ladybug, a moth's powdery wing, delicate spider dances.

You talk, I wonder: Would you notice each sky if I weren't there to get you outside?

I can't tell you about my life before

Just as well, I don't want you to be sad

Despite her many clocks,

the woman forgot the hour constantly.

Always saying "It's not time yet" when clearly my bowl was empty, and I was perishing before her eyes.

Dad threatened to make me into a stew; Then came back with carrot tops and treats anew;

And those boys were so loud

Always stomping and screaming

We wished them to be quiet

So we could go back to dreaming

They got to eat biscuits and gravy

All we ever got were dried flakes

We'd love something more tasty

How 'bout some potato pancakes?

Now, I am partnered with a foolish woman who doesn't understand that threats are everywhere.

She naively walks past dogs who might lunge up and rip into her throat. She ignores plastic bags dancing in the wind that can cover her face as she fights for breath.

She doesn't run very fast

She always hears the mailman last

And I don't think her sense of smell is working very well

She walks on clumsy feet, her head floats in the air,

She can't meow and has no fur and doesn't seem to care

that when she sings her nonsense words and baby-talks my name

I look at her politely then must close my eyes in shame

She calls me wiggle butt.

And buggie.

And cuddle bug.

Little one.

Love bug.

Herc-a-jerk.

Hercules.

At this point I just come to anything

Because it might mean food.

Or treats.

Or a walk.

Or cuddles.

Curled up like a doughnut,

I wait patiently for my family

I will spend my life keeping her safe. It is the burden I bear.

Once wild and free, now safe and sound

In a new home, joy and love have been found

Gone are the days of hunting and fear

Now, a life of comfort and cheer

Thank you, kind soul, for giving a chance

This lap-seeking, freaky-in-the best-way love pillow

Stands. Sits. Lies ready to serve you. I humbly suggest

That you toss aside your tiresome worries

Along with my worn-out tennis balls.

Come join me in a communal sofa-soft delight.

I'm here to listen to your every thought. Wish. Dream.

I am, however, worried, sometimes

That you have forgotten about dinner.

(I never forget about dinner.)

Today I won an apple for a prize

For jumping the best

Next I go back to my stall to rest

Eventually it's lunch time

My dinner is gone, oh, woe is me

I ate it all so greedily.

I yowl with grief, impossible to ignore

But my people will not give me more.

No crunchy kibble, no tasty bits

It's enough to give me fits.

When my water bowl is dry

I think that I will surely die –

But when mom pets my ears

I forget all my fears –

You're home! You're home!

You were gone, and I thought the wait would never end.

How long has it been —

A minute? An hour? A day? A week?

I gotta go; I gotta go; I gotta go

What is it about this he doesn't understand?

I am being clear here about my needs

Why doesn't he get the leash?

For 15 years you've given me such cozy nests.

Although I can no longer leap tall fences (or even get on the couch)

or bring late night comatose possums in to wake up on your rug,

I still love the days of warm sunshine and

Evenings where we gaze into each other's eyes

From my comfy orthopedic bed.

She says I'm an angel in fur coat

That I carry her heart in mine

I don't know what that means

What I do know is that

you loved me from the minute you rescued me

running away scares you to death ... but I cannot help it

I am full of sass and argumentative

your right arm is now longer than your left from five years of pulling on lead

I get overwhelmed with excitement when we have company

I cannot help myself when the resident squirrel runs our fence line

I am addicted to butter

it makes you laugh when I come from behind, between your knees, and look up at you

you are happy and content when we are together

One day dear human I will write for you a tome.

For now you will have to make due with this poem.

You live for me and me alone.

HEY! Where's my bone?!?

This community poem was created using submissions by:

Patricia Kessel, Portland, Ore.

Pranathi Srini, Tustin, Calif.

Noah Holmes, Aurora, Ohio

Heather Christianson, Sacramento, Calif.

Joanna Tapio, Chicago, Ill.

Elaina Hannigan, Corvallis, Ore.

Kim Bridgges, Richmond, Va.

Kimberly Whalen, Lakeville, Minn.

Jennifer Nunez, San Jose, Calif.

Judy Radlinsky, San Jose, Calif.

Margaret Bridges, Portland, Ore.

Betsy Shiroma, Ardsley, N.Y.

Jim Zeiger, Denver, Col.

David Bader, New York, N.Y.

Valerie Lim, Tucson, Ariz.

Harlan Shays, Raleigh, N.C.

Cecily Kiester, Wash.

Mary Rudzinski, Portland, Ore.

Stephanie Spencer, Vancouver, Wash.

Gregory Groth, Portsmouth, N.H.

Jan Crocker, Macon, Ga.

Carmen Kuziemsky, Buffalo, N.Y.

Claire Buttry, Longmont, Col.

Diane Peters-Nguyen, Kailua, Hawaii

Andy Lange, Overland Park, Kan.

Serene Dougan, Fairview, Ore.

Mary Alison Leatart, Bend, Ore.

Brook Rajnowski, Fort Collins, Col.

Joyce Cheng, Hillsboro, Ore.

Linda Muhlhausen, Middletown, N.J.

Theresa Norman, Edinburg, Texas

This poem was produced with help from Karan Chaudhary. Julie Depenbrock and Reena Advani produced and edited the audio story. Reena Advani and Rachel Treisman adapted it for the web.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.