Poetry

Spine of a Dog

[media-credit name=”Luca Grieco” align=”alignnone” width=”640″][/media-credit]
Spine of a dog curves away from me and against, as heat
of a tired dog warms my skin through my sweater, through his fur.
He lies, front paws matched, chin tucked alongside them, neat.
One still beast; one, antsy with pen at arm’s end, cramming
the months and years and lives with rehearsals, games, dinners—
human scrawl. Earlier, no clock or calendar counting, we strolled
our constitutional past a father with toddler and tip-toeing terrier,
child chanting dog-dog-dog-dog at the approach of my friend (leaning
into me as I now lean back on him), switching to tail-tail-tail-tail,
as boy came even with the grand curl of soft tan feathers
waving from the caudal vertebrae of my fur child—
the two eye-to-eye, time-free, thought-fresh.

To rest on his side, dog shifts his spine, heaves
a sigh so long I am reminded, breathe
as deep, swell my chest like his, send old air,
take on a hint of his dog way and sprawl
in the sunny patch mid-room to doze. I
cannot run his run, spine parallel to forward flow,
nor swing caudal vertebrae in joy, in sentience, in joy
of scents, in ignorance, or in greeting.
I envy his presence, whole; envy,
as he gives in, as he shuts his lids—departs.
Sleep rushes in a hush wave on his dog shore.

Pamela Hobart Carter loves Seattle as much for its water and mountains as for its bustle and creativity. She explores the Emerald City daily while walking her dog. Carter used to be a teacher who wrote on the side. Now she is a writer who teaches on the side.