This was the 1950’s.  I get sentimental 
remembering Jake, a dachshund.
He had all the freedom.  He was smart.
He’d wander through woods and come home.
One day he wandered into the sphere 
of a chained dog who killed him.  His final hour 
a terror to imagine.  Something inside 
makes me want to pick up a shotgun
to avenge Jake.  Don’t blame the mongrel
that tore Jake apart, blame the people 
who chained the mongrel, blame the times.
The times doesn’t have hands, doesn’t own 
a chain.  Blame no one?  No.  There are facts: 
there was Jake, who had all the freedom, 
a gentle soul.  There was the dog chained 
behind the house, on a hill that led down 
to woods.  I think of Jake and feel angry and sad.

Peter Mladinic

3 Questions for Peter

What was your process for creating this work?

Both poems are fairly recent, Blame coming from a childhood memory, and Sunday, written a couple of months later from a recent experience I had while out walking.

What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for these pieces?

Form-wise, Blame to me is sort of a free-verse sonnet. I know it’s not a sonnet, but I’m just thinking of the form.  While Blame has a prose feel, Sunday has an even more prose feel to it, like a paragraph, only with my awareness of the line, Sunday, for me, moves down, rather than across the page.

What is the significance of this work to you?

I live with six dogs, and although I am not vegan, I have a keen appreciation for pets, and other animals. 

Peter Mladinic’s poems have recently appeared in Ariel Chart, Bluepepper, Neologism, the Mark, and other online journals.  He lives with six dogs in Hobbs, New Mexico.

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