We decided we could only have an imaginary dog,
we named him Auguste.
He was a shepherd-heeler cross,
your favorite breed, tempered and smart, gentle and agile.
He took us for walks, retrieved discus and delusions.
He could jump higher than a horse, run faster than a jaguar.
He would put a paw on you to calm you down, when agitated,
stare at you until you return to your writing.
He was perfect for our imperfections
– the whole canine yard.
One day, Auguste ran away from home,
vanished into thin air and thick bush,
in a forest of indistinct dreams,
left us his imaginary blue collar by the door,
chewed as if to mark impermanent love with
the permanence of karyotype;
a dental record of durable regret,
a silent bark compressed in a circle of sorrow
In a broken shell of home inhabited by phantoms of dogs past,
his picture in an empty frame on the fridge,
and the glow of his ghostly smile to remind us
that we can lose even what we never had.
About the Author: Donia Mounsef is a Canadian-Lebanese poet, playwright and dramaturge. Her poetry collection -- Plimsoll Lines -- is forthcoming from Urban Farmhouse Press. Her poetry chapbook -- Slant of Arils -- was published by Damaged Goods Press (2015). Her writing has been published and anthologized in print and online in The Toronto Quarterly, Labor of Love, Bluestem, Yes Poetry, Lavender Review, Gutter Eloquence, Poetry Quarterly, Skin 2 Skin, Iris Brown, Reverie’s Rage Anthology, 40 Below Anthology, etc. She teaches theatre and poetry at the University of Alberta.