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Joy, by KB Ballentine

Posted on Jul 1, 2017 by in July 2017 | 2 comments

Mud crusts her paws, silky underbelly
matted with knots, tangles of gold caked brown.
She whines, nudges my face as I bend to brush
away the labor of her day. She squirms
under my touch and gnaws a twig, pieces
of bark stuck to her muzzle. Day uncluttered,
unconcerned, she lopes through leaves,
dodges joggers, licks the kids’ faces.
She sees a squirrel and give chase,
barks a warning and a greeting.
Her head lolls, tongue flapping, as I scratch her sides.
Her panting eases, and she snuffles
before her eyes close, tail twitching in ecstasy.
Would that I could breathe so free —
to greet strangers as friends, find happiness
in a broken stick.


  1. KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her fifth collection of poems, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, is forthcoming by Middle Creek Publishing. Her fourth collection, The Perfume of Leaving, was awarded the 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award. Her work also appears in In God’s Hand (2017), River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011).

  2. KB sees things we all need to see and enjoy.

    Underline joy.

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