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