An Ode to My Street Dogs

Oh dear dog on the street

Barking away in the dead of the night

At the empty space beside that quiet tree

Pray tell me

What is it that you see

That I can’t see?

 

When I wake up in the middle of the night

To you and your friends

Howling at an invisible bogeyman with all your might

I can’t help but wonder what could it be

That you see

And I can’t see.

 

But just to nights are not confined

Our strange encounters perplex my mind.

 

When the night is over

And the day reluctantly begins

I take a deep sigh

And step into the margins

Of my safe and secure life

Inside the four walls of my house

That I wished would come along with me

Every time that I go out.

 

Alas, that is not meant to be

And from my fort I nervously come out

And I see you every step of the way

From the gate of my house

To the main street, where cars abound.

 

I’ll be completely honest with you

Each such walk is a bit of a challenge for me

Every time you approach me out of the blue

I can’t help but freeze in the middle of the street.

 

But then there are occasions

When you look in my eyes so intently

That I shudder within as I acknowledge

A connection that has perhaps spanned centuries.

 

Humans and dogs have lived together

For years and years on end

And yet some of them are so scared

Of each other’s mere presence.

 

Oh! Watch out, here she comes, he says,

What if he bites, she thinks to herself,

Moving out of each other’s way

They both caught in their fear

Secretly wishing all along

That the other would disappear.

 

But it is not all that bad

As I have been forced to concede

My fear notwithstanding

I have learnt to believe–

They are here for a reason

And that reason seems to be

That I get over my fear

And face whatever life brings to me.

 

Walking to and back from work

Our encounters have been many

And now, alas, I think I have reached

A point of understanding

With my own inner beast.

 

The other day in the park

I got over my fear

I saw I could be of help

And I quickly changed gears.

 

I opened the gate for a big black dog

Who was trying to get out

The gate had to be swung open

And the poor thing was not able to figure it out.

 

I walked up to her

And looked her in the eye

And opened the gate for her

Saying good bye.

 

I think I truly see you now

Your shimmering soft fur

And your nervous shaky gait–

I wish we could be closer

But that’s for another day

And trust me, I can wait.

 

What I love most about you

Is to see you sprawled around

Basking under the winter sun

At the entrance of my house.

 

And as I move gingerly between you

Your bodies, with each breath, moving up and down

I am so glad that you leave me alone

And turn your head the other way round.

 

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