Dog Days

Day after summer day
he lays by the same brick wall.
His body curved in a canine semi-circle.
He watches the same cars pass –
going into town in the morning and back home in the evening.
Occassionally, they stop to pick up a newspaper or
some of the caffeinated sludge sold inside.
They speak to him sometimes
but no one stoops to pat his head.

One step up from a mongrel,
he scratches his yellow hide
swats a fly with his limp tail
grunts and hacks like an old dog should.

Once every twenty minutes he makes a circle,
pacing around the side of the building.
He surveys the gravel “yard” behind the store
complete with a trailer where the owner resides.
Then he wanders back to his spot,
circles three times and
flops down –
a cloud of red dust comes up around him.

He gets up another time to check his water dish –
an aluminum pie plate –
which stands empty except for the three day old cicada skeleton.

He remembers a field of high grass.
He remembers chasing a rabbit all the way to its hole.
He remembers swimming in a cold pond.

“It seems like this is often a season of flux. People always leave at this time of year. Why do you think that is?”

“I hadn’t noticed really.”

“Don’t you ever wish it were us doing the leaving instead of the watching as others go on to other things?”

“What else is there? It’s all the same. Just a different zip code.”

“I wonder.”

Sometimes, at night, the old dog is wakened by other dogs in the distance,
yowling and barking.
He lifts his head, sniffs the air and drifts back to sleep.
Probably just the heat making them restless.
This season will pass, just like last year.


~ by hannahcsykes on July 28, 2008.

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