A Dog’s Life
The dogs in Venice prance across stone plazas, tails wagging,
toenails clicking as they toss their toys at the master’s feet
and wait for more play. Glossy fur shining, a dachshund
scuttles through a crowded alleyway, calmly wearing its leash.
On the boat a blond terrier boards, spies the legs of strangers
and snuggles up, waiting for pets. A Brillo-haired poodle
with perky ears turns the corner with his master, and trots
toward a window to sniff a potted plant while his master waits.
Dogs in Delhi do not prance or parade their glossy coats
and frilly hair. Unwashed, uncombed, they wander
wary-eyed and restless through streets and bramble patches
behind ruined temples. Into hard sand they scratch and dig
to make their beds. One grey-haired dog curls himself
onto a manhole lid littered with leaves, then rests its head
on the curb, unnoticed while strangers walk by. Sometimes
there are advantages to life on a leash.