Before going in for another ultrasound
on the spot, the abnormality,
the white absence of finite knowledge
that is my left breast,
a large, black dog trots down the street,
nose to the ground, collar jingling.
He is going Somewhere, no wandering
in the middle of the road for him; he is mature,
driven, so I pass him by, knowing he
won't allow himself to be hit,
that his owners will surely pick him up from the pound.
In my driveway, unloading my young sons from the back seat,
the dog is suddenly beside me, all wagging tail and grinning muzzle.
And so I rub his face, flanks, back,
take him into my fenced patio, give him food, call his owners, wait.
After I relent and let him inside, he stares up at me later from my kitchen floor,
panting a little, so I drop to my knees to pet him,
and the look in his eyes drives me to tears.
I find myself coughing, pleading, choking on tears and snot streaming down every line in my face.
The old adage comes to me then: Dog is God backwards, bumper sticker wisdom.
And I am prostrate, begging, imploring this strange creature who found me:
spare me, spare me, bless me,
my soul wrestling itself for this blessing,
and I want more than anything else to believe that dog is god,
that he found me for a reason,
that somewhere up in the cold white sky alternating between sun and cloud
there is something that makes sense.
The strange dog licks my face, lifts his paw to shake,
scratches my left breast as he brings it down,
looks at me with brown eyes that know nothing and everything.
ANNA CHILDS is a poet and college instructor from east Tennessee. Her love for poetry began when her English professor father gave her his Norton anthologies and she began copying all the poems that struck a chord by hand in a spiral notebook. This led to eventually filling spiral notebooks with her own verse. Her poetry most recently appeared in The 2River View.