October observation

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.

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