If there’s one motherfucking thing
I can rely on it’s that the dogs
will bark at anything that moves
past the front window. Joggers,
kids on bikes, cats, the wavering
of tree branches, a bird
attacking a different bird,
squirrels, chipmunks, possums,
bumblebees, wasps, energy
stains of restless ghosts,
the kids’ grandmothers,
one of those trucks driving around
with a Trump flag tossing in the wind
out the tail end lighting black cats
and chucking them out the passenger
side window on the 4th of Joo-lai,
runners in one of those walks
for charity or 5K’s for charity 
they route down the greenway
and up through the neighborhood
from time to time – that’s a condensed list –
and I hate, hate hate hate,
hate how I have to yell at them

to quit barking as if the only
show of force their maniacal
impromptu neighborhood watch
respects is a louder more histrionic
and even more out of control bark back.


Steve Henn wrote American Male and Guilty Prayer (Main Street Rag 2022 & 2021), Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson 2017), and two previous collections from NYQ Books. He teaches high school in Indiana. Find more at