I stroke his head. His tail wags wildly,
pink tongue flicking up at me, politely
begging to touch my face. Yesterday
he met a baby bird that swelled
its feathers in fear before his solemn
curiosity. When I dawdle too long
before our walk, he talks to me
in a deep sweet questioning lilt.
In Bosnia, Afghanistan, Somalia
men slaughter each other. At home lies
burrow termite tunnels beneath social
smiles. Old dog, it is outrageous, it is
intolerable, your sweetness.
Note: This poem is not recent, but only the names of some of the countries have changed, plus the dog died in 1996 -- aged 16. He was much nicer than me.