National Poetry Writing Month 2018, Day 16

For Day 16, I again deviate slightly from the prompt, which is to ‘write a poem that prominently features the idea of play.’ Although there is mention of chew toys and football, I went more with playful than play.

Earlier, I was looking up information about presidential pets, because it had occurred to me that I had never seen anything about whether or not the current occupant of the White House has any pets. As it turns out, he is the first US president since Polk (1845–49) to have no pets (although, according to Wikipedia, Andrew Johnson had no pets, but fed white mice he found in his bedroom).

Of course, I started off by reading about Socks Clinton (in part because writer Ijeoma Oluo’s 2016 DNC live tweet, Fun Fact: Socks Clinton is probably dead now, happened to pop into my head unexpectedly). When I read that he never liked the Clintons’ dog, Buddy, it wasn’t hard to imagine a White House staffer being given instructions to keep them apart during some official gathering. I then extended the idea to a reunion of former First Pets…

Dead First Pets Society Banquet Rules

Okay, here are the things you need to know:

  1. Whatever you do, keep Socks and Buddy separated. If you don’t—yes, they’ll go at it like cats and dogs.
  2. If absolutely necessary, just start making car noises. Buddy hates cars.
  3. Keep Misty Malarky Ying Yang away from the catnip.
  4. Always have a chew toy on hand for Millie. Otherwise, she just goes on and on about that damned book.
  5. Liberty will be happy with a University of Michigan blanket and a football game on TV.
  6. India is pretty chill, but if she starts to look nervous or bored, offer to bring one of her hats.
  7. Don’t call Miss Beazley ‘Ms. Beazley’. She hates that.
  8. When it comes time for the group photo, you have to distract Barney with something else so he won’t hog the middle.
  9. Give the Reagan dogs their own room. With lots of pillows.
  10. Nobody talks about Grits.

(15 April 2018—posted April 16th)


    • The Carters did not keep Grits. (Apparently, they gave him back to the teacher they got him from when her own dog died.)

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