Under a stormy gray April sky
On a vacation day

Through neighborhoods of ramshackle houses
Where I rarely pass
I notice on a dirty, sagging front porch
Chained to a post
An ugly, yellow dog

The hound is thrown together from leftover parts
Ears ridiculously large for such a small head
Bobbling on its wobbly neck on top of the swollen belly

It watches me pass
And I see the squalor
A no trespassing sign taped to a window in front
With black electrician's tape

The dog looks embarrassed
I don't blame it
Our minds lock briefly and then I drive on
Thinking about my extraordinary life.

William Cully Bryant is a physician, author and Associate Editor for OAK BEND REVIEW.   His writing can be found or is forthcoming in dozens of journals including, but not limited to: CLAPBOARD HOUSE, UNDERGROUND VOICES, BEESWAX, AMPERSAND and THE DISTILLERY.  His writing spans many genres and he has just completed his first novel, Messages.  Contact  Cully at

This poem happened exactly how it is written.  I was driving through a disadvantaged section of town and noticed this very ugly dog sitting on the porch of a dilapidated home.  It was so ugly I actually felt a bit embarrassed for it.  I thought the dog's ugliness and my relative advantages compared to it were poignant.  When I arrived home I sat down and wrote the poem immediately. It probably took five minutes to write - which seems to be true of most of my poetry. 

I almost always write spur of the moment and from the gut.  I almost never look for clever rhymes, alliteration or meter.  I don't sit down and think, "I'm going to write a few poems today." Rather, things occur in my life and I will think, "Hmm, that would make a good poem." I then write the poem as it appears to me at that moment and generally leave it at that. 
"The Ugly Dog" was rejected by 6 or 7 journals and I had almost relegated it to my pile of never-to-be-published work when Foundling Review picked it up.


Copyright 2009