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.