no more strays

Several months after I posted this poem to Oprah’s “Remembering Your Spirit” page on the web in 2000, I received a note from a producer asking me to call her about the possibility of appearing in a segment on Oprah about surrender.  I was asked to provide several photos and additional information about my life and perspectives.  Whether it was because I was too whacked or not whacked enough, I was not selected for the appearance. 

Honestly, I don’t know if I could have gone through with it if they had said “you’re on”.  

A few weeks ago, talk of an old love got me digging through my archives to find this one.  Here it is for what it’s worth 10 years later:


Take Y, for example.  He is a big, fat St. Bernard.  No purpose in life but to run from hand to hand, licking and panting until he finds food.  Before he’s finished eating from your hand, he’s already picked up another scent to follow.  

no more strays

good-bye old loves

it used to be enough

to prove I could win

a part of you

and anyway

you only wanted

a part of me

the part that wiped up

your messes and

held you when

you shivered. 

good-bye to you

who only let me

throw the ball to you

when no one else

was looking

to you who

needed my brains

and siphoned them out

through my heart

knowing I would

gaze back grateful

proud of being enough

to arouse the

animal in you. 

when I meet you again

I will resist

grinding myself into

dog food

for a chance to

get a call returned

or a birthday wish

or a check in

when it is me

who is in need.

I don’t blame you

with every lick

you told me

that I didn’t count

unless I fed you.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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