For my Good Boy who has no idea

by Steven Pirani

Good Boy, when you first came home you were named after a shitty beer and that just seemed strange, so we matched you to an Aboff's paint swatch and that's why we call you Barley, if you were ever wondering. And I know you don't understand why you can't drink the lake water, Good Boy, but you need to stop because I'm pretty sure it's making you sick, and even though you love the vet, it's just not something we should make a habit of. And your tail, Good Boy, has murdered five wine glasses now and I know you don't have any concept of wine or glasses or monetary value or stain removal but you often avoid things that sound like explosions so I don't understand why this keeps happening, Good Boy.

Good Boy, it's scary that you bark at the same ghosts in the yard that the last Good Boy did, and while I don't believe in spirits or anything this isn't really bolstering that nihilism I was working on and I'd appreciate it if you stopped.

Good Boy, some nights I have awful dreams that I dropped you as a puppy and you broke all of your bones so forgive me if I ever hug you at 5 A.M., it's just to make sure. You should know, Good Boy, that I make you leave the room when I strain pasta because I had a different dream once where I spilled boiling water on you and I think it is my greatest fear, to have you run out of the room steaming. And Good Boy, I'm never going to put those stupid fucking socks on you that Ira puts on his Good Boy, I promise.

Look, Good Boy, one night I was watching television and I decided that if anyone ever hurt you I would just have to go to jail because there is no just god in scripture that would take you from Georgia to Long Island in a steel cage just to have you bleed again. I see the scars on your nose and ears and the way you run from hands you don't recognize, you're not so inconspicuous, or maybe I'm just suspicious of the world.

Good Boy, I hope you know that's you, but you probably just hear guh buh and get the picture and that's fine, I shouldn't expect more, just know that there is more to it, and you're only two-years-old, and you've got time to figure it out.