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  You could have a big dipper   

A Sly Fabulist by Allan Johnston

one day a dog

is called a name

it is interested

in the smell of feet

it is only ankle high

so you don’t know

by using the name

you give it the wrong sex

and when you find out

months later, the owner

says, “It came to the name,

so why not?”

she doesn’t care about names

and the dog,

what the dog really likes

is feet


Originally from southern California, Allan Johnston earned his M.A. in Creative Writing and his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis. His poems have appeared in over sixty journals, including Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, and Rhino. He has published two full-length poetry collections (Tasks ofSurvival, 1996; In a Window, 2018) and three chapbooks (Northport, 2010; Departures, 2013; Contingencies,2015), and received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, Pushcart Prize nomination (2009 and 2016), and First Prize in Poetry in the Outrider Press Literary Anthology competition (2010). His translations and co-translations of poems from the French and German have appeared in Ezra, Metamorphosis, and Transference. He teaches writing and literature at Columbia College and DePaul University in Chicago. He reads or has read for Word River, r.kv.r.y, and the Illinois Emerging Poets competition, and is co-editor of JPSE:Journal for the Philosophical Study of Education. His scholarly articles have appeared in Twentieth Century Literature, College Literature, and several other journals. Twitter: @Aj654321Allan

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