Call and Response

By TREY MOODY

My grandmother likes to tell me dogs
            understand everything you say, they just can’t
say anything back. We’re eating spaghetti 

            while I visit from far away. My grandmother
just turned ninety-four and tells me dogs
            understand everything you say, they just can’t

say anything back. My grandmother does not
            have a dog. She heard this on the everlasting 
news. Forty years she’s lived alone and never

            forgot to take me for a milkshake Fridays
after school. I smile when she tells me dogs
            understand everything you say, they just can’t

say anything back, and I say oh, I believe it 
            with a nod meant to convince anyone eternity
is right here. Approaching a century of love

            and loss, my guess is she wants to be heard or,
better, understood. When my grandmother tells me dogs
            understand everything you say, they just can’t

say anything back, I understand the only thing
                        worth returning now is yes, I’m here, keep talking.

 

Trey Moody is the author of the poetry collections Autoblivion and Thought That Nature. A recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Award, he teaches at Creighton University and lives with his daughter in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Call and Response

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