“Posing with Fala” by Diane Kendig

At the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The photo’s so composed, the silver glint of earrings
and the phosphorescent toes of my walking shoes,
Fala’s bronze ear and our wedding bands,
your black jeans and the denim I seldom wear—
but it was all an accident, how we dressed that morning
and found the park, then took turns at the statue till
five tourists arrived, offered to take us together,
and we scrambled to crouch with the famous pooch.
Looking at the far shot, I think what chance wreaks,
what weirdness governs continuance and stay,
your hint that our Scottie hated the other woman you sneaked in.
Today, I’m surfing the net for other photos of the famous dog,
forty or so: early on, all FDR and him, both in a sit,
as at the statue, but then when Franklin died, his children
requested the dog from the mistress who’d got hold of him,
and for years afterward, we see Eleanor with Fala, on walks,
in her lap, and at Truman’s library.
She wrote in The New Yorker and The Times
how Fala so missed his master, but we’re left at last
with an image of whose dog he was in the end.  

Diane Kendig is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Prison Terms. She also co-edited the anthology, In the Company of Russell Atkins. She has published poetry and creative nonfiction in literary journals, such as J Journal, Wordgathering, and Under the Sun, and for six years, she has curated the Cuyahoga County Library blog, “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry”