Sue Fitchett


A dog going about his business

from homeward bus suspended
in late afternoon’s kindly light
I see a brown dog
trot past on the pavement

a dog going about his business

hey dog I want to say
what’s your hurry
who will you meet at the end of the road

a dog going about his business

said my dad
he had lots of dog sayings

he was always going to

talk to a man about a dog

what man & what dog & why

dogs appeared in my childhood
like codes
or familiar spirits

it’s a dog’s life

like our dog Jack
when we moved to our new house
he didn’t come

& dad said he went to a good home
the truth is sharper
a quick & quiet betrayal

the dogs of war

I sort of understood dad
Gallipoli a constant weight in his belly
at times I still hear
a clink of medals
in dawn’s crisp half-light

a distant bark or two
his morse code

or am I
barking mad

Gertrude Stein’s favourite pooch
lapping at his bowl
her whole poetry
lap lap
lap lap

O dog
outside my bus

don’t be a dirty dog

mark this poem
with a bark or pee
its best friend
to the last line
a lucky god


I mean
dog poem



Sue Fitchett is a retired psychologist, conservationist and Waiheke Islander. She co-authored Drawing Together (with M. Bachmann & J. Charman) (Spiral) & Charts & Soundings; some small navigation aids (with J. Zusters) (Spiral/Spinifex). Fitchett also co-edited The New Zealand Anthology of Lesbian & Gay Poetry (Giant) and authored Palaver lava queen (AUP). Her work has appeared in various publications and she held Louis Johnson bursary 2001/2002.