by Noel Crook
He lies still, breath clouding the slate tiles
between his paws. Only the occasional twitch of an ear
mars his perfect vigil. He has grown old
following the girl, his only lamb; has watched her
since a diaper rustled at her thighs.
Now she is gone all day
and he waits for her here by the door.
He has contemplated the demise of the mailman,
who moves too close when he hands her packages;
has dreamed the warm brine of the bus driver’s blood.
Do not misjudge this old dog—
beneath dull fur and steepled bones of his ribs
runs the keen rush of valve to ventricle,
the old thrill of a bared tooth.