The Dog-headed Girl, by Janis Freegard
(after a Lucy Casson sculpture)

The dog-headed girl
goes to the beach for a swim.  She splashes about in the
salty water barking her joy.  Woof! says the dog-headed
girl.  Woof, woof!  She dog-paddles out to meet the waves.
If you threw her a stick, she would fetch it for you.  When
she emerges from the water, she shakes herself frenetically,
flinging droplets across the sand until she’s half-dry.

The dog-headed girl wears no shoes.
The dog-headed girl has a red dog.
The dog-headed girl plays the ukulele.

The dog-headed girl
goes to the bookshop to find a book she might like to read
(one that’s not too dog-eared).  She roams up and down the
shelves trying to sniff out one that she’ll enjoy.  Finally she
settles on a novel by Banana Yoshimoto.  It does not smell
of bananas.

The dog-headed girl chases seagulls.
The dog-headed girl does not like cats.
The dog-headed girl sometimes gets fleas.

The dog-headed girl
buys a hot-dog and chips from the takeaway bar on the
corner.  Her mouth waters when the shopkeeper hands her
the takeaway parcel wrapped in yellow paper.  The dog-
headed girl wolfs it all down as fast as she can.  She grins a
jowly grin: it’s a good life being a bitch.

This was originally published in JAAM in 2002, and later reprinted in Viola Beadleton’s Compendium.  (I’ve made one or two small changes since).  Lucy Casson is a UK artist who had work in a show at the Dowse in Lower Hutt in 2002 (“Reclaimed”, about making art out of rubbish).  One of her sculptures was of a female figure with the head of a red dog, who was walking a red dog.  I still have the poster on my wall.

More Tuesday Poems here.