Dog Face Love Poem He Calls Me Mama Blue

Come to this part of my life when I had a small heart
in the shape of a rattle, a severance.

Watch me dig holes along the ditch, taking pictures of dead things
as I go, waking, one day to ask against the inevitable.

Will love come if I call it, feed it, let it sleep in my bed?
I visit the numen of creek dogs. Leash one,

find him kin of relentless. Gift him pillow, bench,
squirrel carcass. His feet fold into envelope operas

he composes to me in an ancient dialect of howl.
We visit the ocean, repeat the names of gulls

till the waves stop, his love of sand tide breaking
my knees, which is where I keep my cynicism,

my inflexibility. I command him:
watch me become blue so electric I create

beds of inhospitable lengths,
they call me ice daughter,

hungry, stacking torn dating apps in my freezer
alongside frozen food, the shape of a quail, vodka.

So blue, I think he will never want to walk
with me again, but he does

eager, like my love
retro vintage circa once upon a time.


Kelly Gray (she/her) is a writer and educator in Northern California on Coast Miwok land, living deep in fire country in a little cabin beneath very tall trees. She is the author of Instructions for an Animal Body (MoonTide Press) and the audio chapbook My Fingers are Whales (Moon Child Press). Her writing has recently appeared in Pithead Chapel, Hobart, Under a Warm Green Linden, The Normal School, The Inflectionist, Superstition Review and elsewhere. She is a Best of the Net finalist and has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and is happily the Outreach Editor at Bracken Magazine. Her favorite food is donut. You can read more of her work at