Taking My Dog to The Opera

Charlotte Matthews


Who would have thought he’d sit
so still so long, but he settles right
into our row, props his head on the velvet
armrest basking in the company
of strangers. And while I cannot say
whether or not he will follow the plot
—it’s Handel’s Rinaldo—he sure looks
enraptured, no place in the world
he’d rather be. A big galumphy lab,
the kind who clearly skips no meals,
he drops his playbill and the woman
across the aisle offers hers faster than you
can say jack rabbit. He must stir something
in her, look a bit like her childhood dog
who abided bedside for the two full weeks
she fought scarlet fever. In act two, when
Goffredo’s crew launches the boat,
my dog looks stage left, checks out how
they’ll pull this one off, turns despondent
the moment they take advice from a magician
—of all people. He’s seen all this before,
barely has the heart for another human,
helpless, wrecked, and stranded,
clinging to a rock beside the stormy sea.
Given the choice he’d rather
chomp on popcorn in front of Monster
Trucks because that high school boy
really made something out of what he had:
discarded car parts as a ticket out of town.
Still, my dog stays all the way to curtain call,
sniffs the lady across the aisle, walks me home.