Is it Possible to Lease a Puppy?

poem by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Maybe I could just rent
a husband instead? Would
I still have to clean up after
all his spills and late night
messes, barking loudly in
a different grunting language? 
Would he make me feel needed, 
going on walks and tongue
wagging at flirtatious strangers
still making me feel alone? Not
just for my pleasure, if he could
only help me in the kitchen
besides ignoring me while
licking up his favorite bowl, 
polishing off his favorite
drink, distracted by the tiles, 
not even giving me a thank
you smile, wishing he
could notice my appetite, 
as I untie the strings on
my finest apron, glowing
by the sink. Okay, you know
my hunger, not just for licks
and kisses, even loving his
shadow five o’clock whiskers
and his bad breath in the AM; 
cuddles while watching afternoon
silent films, making up our own
language in color; spooning on
couches, while he devours
my Häagen-Dazs, leaves me
wondering, is he just a stranger
living in my home? Could I read
him like my favorite book? 
The one without the cover, dog
eared pages, I hate being sleepless
about our distant ending, must I
stop pretending when my pet
starts snoring, worry about
returning him, even though I lost
my receipt? Maybe I’ll let
my hound run free on Venice
Beach. What if someone will
catch him? But just to see
the others chase after my boy, 
makes me want to keep him
on my leash. Remembering
how much I love the first glow
of the day, seeing his wagging
tongue, he’s so demanding
always starting at my feet; 
but he must know already— 
I’m the one who loves to
embrace him just out of
the shower dripping wet and
sweet. I must find the perfect
flavor to feed his animal cravings
when he wakes me up, missing
my lips, licking my face, 
devoted chewing boy toy, 
clawing so hungry for more
than midnight treats. 

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is an award-winning, LA-based author and poet who has a BA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and MFA from Antioch University. He is the author of the full-length poetry collection Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press and poetry chapbook So Many Flowers, So Little Time from Red Mare Press.

His poetry has been featured in The Yellow Chair Review, poeticdiversity, The Wild Word, The Fem, Rigorous, Palette Poetry and Lunch Ticket’s Special Issue: Celebrating 20 Years of Antioch University Los Angeles MFA in Creative Writing. He lives with his wife and their cat Woody Gold. You can connect with Adrian on his website: