Leslea Newman: “Poem for Two Dogs, Hanged in Salem, 1692”

Lesléa Newman is the author of more than 50 books for children and adults, including the poetry collection Nobody’s Mother (Orchard House Books, 2008). The poem below, reprinted by permission, won second runner-up for poetry in the 2010 Solstice Literary Contest . Read all the winners here .

Poem for Two Dogs, Hanged in Salem, 1692

Did they hang

their heads

as good dogs do

when someone

slips beside them

to loop

a collar

or a rope

around their furry necks

Did they prance

along proudly

as happy dogs do

when trotting

alongside a friend

or stranger

who’s taking them


for a nice long walk

Did they give

sloppy kisses

as loving dogs do

when a kind man

or gruff man


down beside them

and says sit

and stay

Did they shake

all over

as frightened dogs do

when startled by thunder

or lightning

or black hoods

placed over their heads

making everything too quiet

and dark

Did they swing

their tails

as innocent dogs do

when they’re puzzled

or confused

but still

trusting those near

will bring them

no harm

Or did they bare

their teeth

growl and leap

snapping at the Hangman

before he strung them up

and they rose

to Heaven

leaving bodies behind

to be buried like bones

One comment on “Leslea Newman: “Poem for Two Dogs, Hanged in Salem, 1692”

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