Today’s model poem for National Poetry month is The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur

My students often want to read and share Tupacs poems and lyrics and this poem of his one of the cleaner ones that I can use in the classroom. I’ve never tried to use it as a jumping off point for my own work but when I reread it, I had a vision of all the dogs that are thrown away and how some of them, like my Zoey, are lucky enough to be rescued and find a new forever home. Here’s my first draft.


The Dog That Remembered How to Love

Did you hear about the dog
thrown to the side of the road
because someone didn’t want it anymore
left to fend for itself
with no guarnatee of food or water
no microchip or tag to know where home was
no a soft bed to curl into at night?

Did you hear about the dog
not much more than skin and bones
seen skulking in the alleys
digging through garbage
scratching at the fleas that covered her body
and the foxtails that filled her ears
and the parasites that filled her belly.

Did you hear about the dog
they couldn’t catch
because it ran so fast
like white lightening
running running running
faster still when someone shot it
burying a slug of metal in her hip
faster faster faster
until finally they set a trap
and caught that dog in a cage
and put that dog in a car
and took that dog to another cage
where that dog waited.

Did you hear about the dog
that got lucky
that got found
that got saved
that dog that found a different kind of home
that dog that got food and water
and a bed of its very own
that dog that got clean
that dog that got healthy
that dog who still loved to run
run fast.

Long live that dog
that remembered how to love
the humans who loved it back
after so many other humans
turned away.

Susan Taylor Brown