For the Dogs Who Barked at Me on the Sidewalks in Connecticut by Hanif Abdurraqib

Darlings, if your owners say you are / not usually like this / then I must take them / at their word / I am like you / not crazy about that which towers before me / particularly the buildings here / and the people inside / who look at my name / and make noises / that seem like growling / my small and eager darlings / what it must be like / to have the sound for love / and the sound for fear / be a matter of pitch / I am afraid to touch / anyone who might stay / long enough to make leaving / an echo / there is a difference / between burying a thing you love / for the sake of returning / and leaving a fresh absence / in a city’s dirt / looking for a mercy / left by someone / who came before you / I am saying that I / too / am at a loss for language / can’t beg myself / a doorway / out of anyone / I am not usually like this either / I must apologize again for how adulthood has rendered me / us, really 
/ I know you all forget the touch / of someone who loves you / in two minutes / and I arrive to you / a constellation of shadows / once hands / listen darlings / there is a sky / to be pulled down / into our bowls / there is a sweetness for us / to push our faces into / I promise / I will not beg for you to stay this time / I will leave you to your wild galloping / I am sorry / to hold you again / for so long / I am in the mood / to be forgotten.


The author’s latest volume of poetry is called They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us.

Think about what the poem made you feel. Did you find yourself darting and back with the author’s use of perspective and narrative? Did you receive a new-found empathy for any of the perspectives given?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you tomorrow.


  • Beautifully moving. This poem put me in tears this morning. Tears of both melancholy and longing. It spun my head with painful reminders of my past, but also reminded to never give up on my future dreams and goals. It gave me hope that all my hard work hasn’t been in vain. ~thank you
    And thank you for this amazing podcast. I’m so grateful I found it.

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