The old bitch Rosie ambles up the drive.
The taut knobs of her teats nearly touch the dust.
Somewhere something needs her.
Chunk-necked, long-bodied, lug-legged, smudge-colored.
She abhors brooms but otherwise endures
insults, indifference, novice efforts to leash or clean.
A kind of commanding obedience about her:
as long as it takes you to see, she waits.
Then, with a sort of conspiratorial shiver and eons in her eyes,
lugs her nubs up the porch steps and sighs loudly down
as if she’s been deflated.
A ghost of must and an orbit of fleas,
one toothed ear and two bonus toes.
Nothing culminates in her, except maybe muttness.
She is the opposite of frolic.
Her sleep is an extinction.
However, should an afternoon prove overlong, heat
smite, one’s pleasures pall,
should one let slip the one word she knows
(Rosie is a rune to her, one more blurt from the blurters)
she’s up! all frisk and ripple, sniffing existence anew,
and with her tail pronged as a warthog saunters
down the steps, across the yard, parting the tall grass ahead of you
toward the roar.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 38 Number 5, on page 38
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