‘On loving a dragon’ by Don Share

On loving a dragon

For one thing,
dragons can’t cook:
they burn everything.
And they sigh—
a lot!
Try and rub
a dragon’s back:
it will not assuage
them one bit.
Above all,
dragons love to
be disagreeable:
they deign
to disagree.
Their breath
is better than
one might think;
it doesn’t stink,
though it scalds.
For dragons
are scolds.
Most, in fact,
are angry (how
they steam!),
or worse:
low in self-esteem.
Can you blame them?
Brushing their
hair a thousand times
before bed, they seethe:
“I’m tired.”
“I look old.”
“Nobody loves me.”
“My nose is red.”
Who can argue?
And how they spy—
on neighbors, on friends,
on you. By the way…
Damn their eyes,
these dragons fly
off with the cash.
They are spendthrifts,
clawing through Christmas
catalogs, craning their long
necks over fence posts.
Because dragons are green
with envy, with bile.
Their entire back-
bone is one mean streak.
And if you do love
a dragon, all the while
she will doubt you,
because she knows
well that dragons are
the stuff of myth,

that they don’t exist.
Don Share is Senior Editor of POETRY magazine in Chicago. His latest books are Wishbone (Black Sparrow), Bunting’s Persia (Flood Editions), and The Open Door: 100 Years, 100 Poems from Poetry Magazine (University of Chicago Press); forthcoming is a revised version of his translations of Miguel Hernandez (NYRB Classics), which were awarded the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize.