Emily Dickinson’s Dog by J.R. Solonche

Emily Dickinson’s dog
was a Newfoundland.
His name was Carlo.
What a wonderful name.
She certainly had a flair
for the exotic, didn’t she?
But Carlo is nowhere
to be found in the poems.
The name I mean. Even
in the famous one in which
she leaves early and takes
her dog, she doesn’t name
him. Why didn’t she
immortalize Carlo, I wonder,
the way Christopher Smart
immortalized his cat,
Geoffrey? No, there’s no
Carlo in all of Dickinson.
I know. I checked the index
to her Complete Poems.
But if she had written one,
I bet it would have begun
something like this,
“I’m Carlo – Who are You?”
He lived to be 16,
a ripe old age for a large
breed of dog. And when
he died, she grieved, and
when she grieved, she
grieved for a long, long time.



J.R. Solonche is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (forthcoming in April from Kelsay Books), 110 Poems (forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.