Same job, different uniform.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

To Walk Beside Us Forever

Before humans,
dogs flew everywhere.
Their wings of silky fur
wrapped hollow bones.
Their tails wagged
like rudders through wind,
their stomachs bare
to the sullen earth.
    I still refer to them as “my dogs.”

    Watching her son run, crookedly on spindly legs, down a gravel road along a wide field of emerald winter wheat, I thought of her. We passed the flat, narrow place where she was lovingly buried in a crude grave.
Out of sorrow
for the first humans--
stumbling, crawling,
helpless and cold--
dogs folded their
great wings into paws
soft enough to walk
beside us forever.

    To our left, by the canal nestled beside the bones of countless other cats and dogs beloved or otherwise, the Queen of Dogs is at rest.
They still weep for us,
pity our small noses,
our unfortunate eyes,
our dull teeth.

    In my imagination she is herding even the dead, mothering the sleeping, nuzzling noses and licking whiskered faces.
They lick our faces clean,
keep us warm at night.
Sometimes they remember flying
and bite our ugly hands.

italicized text is "Why Dogs Stopped Flying" by Kenneth W. Brewer.

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