Woman and Dog

A woman and a dog walked all day

beside the non-moving canal.

People who walk dogs displace themselves:

 

the dog sniffs and leads, harnesses

a human soul, spirit and flesh

willing or not. Its human-dog eyes

 

cradle the walkable world – a happy place –

a brimming here-and-yet. The canal

neither followed nor lagged behind.

 

There was the simplified world, on either side, green

fields and red houses. There was the little pub

they always got to.

 

So long they trudged, two bodies and one

soul, so many miles,

the paws began to bleed.

 

Little flecks of ruby blood glittered the black

rubbery pads, as if the dog was inking out

all the sadness of the woman.

 

And the woman, being just strong enough,

gathered up the dog (not a small one)

and carried it all the way home, wherever that was.

 

© Petra White