Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Day of Improbable Things

Yesterday was Leia and Yoda’s 12th (!!!) birthday!

Happy 12th bark-day!

I’ve been swamped with the transition to distance learning with my high school students, but the corgis have been on my mind. First, I’m working on book 4. It has only a working title right now. I know it’s not right, and I’ll know the right title when I see it. I can say that book 4 is the hardest for me to write because it takes place during a snow storm, and I’ve had bad experiences! But I’m hoping to channel those into something kids will love.

Second, the corgis have been on my mind because–well, they are at my feet. All. The. Time. The benefit of distance learning is that when I teach from home, Leia and Yoda snooze under my desk. Most of the time they keep quiet, but at least they save their barking until I am right in the middle of a class 😉

During a creative writing class, I had my students write an autobiographical poem. I always try to write along with the students–something new–to show them how even experienced writers struggle with the writing process. So, in honor of the corgis’ birthday, I wrote a poem about the day we brought the corgis home. Here it is! I hope you enjoy 🙂

And, now that my kids are both sleeping through the night, I plan to blog on here much more frequently!



The Day of Improbable Things

by Val Muller


We took a rare drive that morning,
Into the next county,
To see a matinee. 


Celebratory burger pieces for our 12th bark-day!

It was a children’s movie,
And we had no kids.
But Neil Gaiman was well worth the money.


We should have been home sleeping
Instead of in the car,
But there we were, driving,
Thinking about the Improbable Things
We’d just seen in Coraline: 


Her improbably name,
A woman with a million dogs,
Training mice for a circus,
Having Another Mother,
A world of doppelgangers; 


Two people with no kids,
Driving miles
To see a children’s film
On a day when
We could have slept in. 


It was as Improbable as
Driving by a utility pole
At the very moment
A person with a hammer
Nailed up a sign that said


As Improbable as
    A dog-hater
    Looking at me knowingly,
“Seems like we better stop.” 


Improbable as
    Being the first ones to look
At the pen of four dogs,
The largest running up to me,
Our eyes telling each other,
“You are the one.” 


Improbable as
    The dog-hater looking me in the eye
And wondering,
“Hadn’t we better get two,
For company?”
And the owner,
Liking that idea,
Saying, “I’ll give you a deal
If you take two.” 


The three males were named already,
Identified with personalities.
But their sister was not.


“You can’t take two males,”
The owner said.
“You’ll have to take the female.”
She looked regretful and mumbled,
“She’s okay, I guess.”


“The female” had that diva look about her,
Sometimes bullying the other three,
Sometimes being bullied,
Never fitting in. 


The owner
Loaned us a book about corgis
As we drove to the ATM
And had lunch
And chatted
About whether these two dogs
Would really be ours,
An Improbable conversation
For a day beginning
With a matinee. 


“The female,” the outcast, the afterthought,
Was held hostage when we returned
By the Hello Kitty Apocalypse,
Two young women–sisters–
Dressed in pink and black
And Hello Kitty purses
And matching shoes
And Hello Kitty seat covers
In their pink and black convertible. 


“The female” snuggled in the arms of the older Kitty.
My eyes locked with her round, brown, canine ones.
Her eyes were a universe,
A Schrodinger’s window
Through which I saw in a flash
One of her futures:
Days of dressing up–
Doggy raincoat and boots,
Boots matching collar matching tutu
Matching a pink cushion on the couch.
A pedicure?


A second supernova in her eyes
Showed another world:
Grass and mud,
Frogs and squirrels
And her brother,
Who I had already mentally renamed Yoda
(because of the ears)
Always at her side. 


“Hi Princess,” Hello Kitty was telling the dog.
And it was like the two worlds in Coraline,
A perfect world of button-eyed Hello Kitties,
Or an ordinary one with me. 


The owner looked at me with frantic eyes.
I don’t think she liked the Kitties.
“These two ladies were wondering,” she croaked,
“If you changed your mind.
They want to take the female home.” 


“Her name is Princess,” Kitty said. 


The owner’s eyes screamed at me,
As if she too had seen
The female’s Hello Kitty Future
And cowered. 


“Yes,” I said. “We’ll take them both.” 


I never knew Hello Kitty could kill,
But in those eyes shone murderous intent.
“The female” turned to me, my Yoda already in my arms,
hen leapt away from her captor,
Leapt away from her Other Mother
And those creepy button eyes,
Leapt into the surprised arms of my husband.

She trembled just a moment,
Perhaps shaking off the limbo of
The world that could have been.
Then she took a look at Yoda.
Princess did have a nice ring,
To match her brother.
And then Leia stopped squirming
And settled into the crook of my husband’s arm
Because she knew
Finally, after an Improbable day,
She was home.


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