Weather I Wouldnt Leave a Dog Out In
Its raining. Hard.
In my attic bedroom
I hear it hit the roof. My dog does, too
—hes scared of thunderstorms so I bring him
inside. At the sound of a thunderclap
he whines. Easy, boy, I say. Theres nothing
to be afraid of. Im bluffing, of course.
But I have to have courage for two now.
Its good practice for when Ill be married.
I try to stay calm, reading comic books,
danger on the page but the good will out.
Not that a storm is evil, exactly,
but it poses a threat like evil does.
Not that Im an example of goodness,
but Im not bad—Im kind to animals.
I dont want to be outside in all this
even if Im dry on the porch or in
the garage. No, Id be with those I love,
if dogs can love. At least they like a lot.
And if they dont even like then they possess
some qualities that people dont have. Not
instinct, exactly—I have that, too. Not
opportunism—Im guilty of same.
Some sort of devotion—I copy that
but Im careful about making people
animals and animals people. Its
just that when we have a thunderstorm—and
lightning—Id let pass anyone who bangs
against the door not so much to signal
that hed like permission to enter but
that hes going to burst right through
so desperate is he to find some shelter.
If ever my dog loved me then its then.
I lie on the bed and read and try to
tune in the local AM stations on
my transistor radio. Hes under
the bed, his muzzle poking out but not
much more. I let my left hand down and pet
him. He licks it once or twice, then stops and
sighs. Thunder explodes again and I rub
his nose and he licks my fingers again.
The rain falls like one long pour from a pail
and the lights go out so I get up and
drop to the floor and crawl under the bed
with him. Dont be afraid, I say. Its good
for the farmer. But hell on the scarecrow.
We havent been this close since we were pups.
Now Im four years old again and hes not
sixty-three in dog-years. I kiss his snout.
Youre the best pal I ever had, I say.
When the storm passes we dont want to leave
but we do. Now theres sunshine, and water
in puddles, and stricken summer leaves, and
branches everywhere. Hell be okay now.
Ill see you later, I say. I go in
and take a last look back but hes sniffing
everything as if hes in a strange land.
And when I bring him his supper, hes dead.
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