Photography © Jennifer Matthews


Beware of Dog

Beware of dog, the sign on the fence says,
and indeed, the dog is fearful;
a giant barking thing, saliva dripping
from black lips. His muscles throb
and flex beneath short white fur.
His yellow teeth come to sharp points,
like a falcon’s claws. He thrusts
his body against the chain link fence
that borders the yard where a woman
sits in a plastic beach chair, on dead grass.
The smoke from her cigarette rises
through the Georgia heat
to the American flag that hangs
above her, protruding from the dark
red house like something obscene.
Her mouth is a colorless line
that slashes across her face.
Her hair, the color of ash, hangs
to her chin. Her dog hurls his body
against the metal fence again and again.
He snaps and growls. She takes
no notice of her white monster.
The flag is heavy and still in the heat.


Victoria Mack has been nominated for 343 Pushcarts and never won, but her dog thinks she’s marvelous. She teaches Shakespeare and other misfits to students at the Savannah College of Art and Design half the year, and spends the other half brooding in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn. Her MFA is from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and yes, she’s still in debt.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.