Against the Fence (for a dog)

You lie by my side
breathing quick
I look at the ceiling and think

Of the animal we both chased down
and its teeth

And how you bit it to bleed
and how it felt when I kicked
there on the ground

It lay still
I reached down

And threw it free
its tail wrapped around
my hand, gave me a squeeze
as if to say


I know you're only a pup
and you're half asleep

Your first taste of blood
and you dream of the fur
and the sound of the angry growl

I make the sound
just to play
you wag your tail

But for our prey
it was high water or hell
to make its escape

I lie on the ground
your eyes closed
your paws pressed against the floor
your neck close to mine

And I watch the ceiling
through wreathes of smoke

And feel at peace
I hope
wounds will heal

and the memory of the touch
of the animal's fur
will keep you from hunting
a wounded mother

I kept your secret
as you kept mine

Behind the fence
waiting quietly

the pretense
of stillness
and the smell
of rotting flesh

Your only defense
safe from the teeth

of my puppy
lying next to me
breathing fast

his legs twitch
as if to say

The hunt is still on