Face it. I don’t like dogs.
I fear them. In our culture
you can’t always dislike something you fear,
but you can if it’s a dog.
Silly, but I was bitten,
by a St. Bernard, no less.
Well, I was almost bitten.
A dog with a head bigger than mine
took my leg in his mouth
before his owner caught and beat him.
I wasn’t hurt, not physically, but
now people protect me.
Three houses down a little dog barks at night.
Everything startles him
so he bleats, he cries out for help,
and then someone beats him.
The cry turns to a yelp,
sometimes two, and then silence.
I don’t know who does it. I don’t
know those people, my neighbors,
but when I heard the man shouting
at his son, maybe beating him,
I called the police.
Three burly blues: “Which house, ma’am?”
I tried to tell them
but the houses are three deep here,
one driveway serves many.
It might be someone else’s dog.
I went to see it once—
a young black dog barking
behind a chainlink fence.
No one walks the dog.
I know because I walk.
The dog never leaves the property.
Today I’m driving down a city street
next to a young woman draped in black.
Every few seconds, she stops
and raises her arms, snarls and shouts,
makes faces at no one, at me.
She’s afraid, too, and I’m afraid of her.
We’re all afraid.
The three blues talked to the angry man,
but the dog is still there barking
at night, crying out,
and then he is beaten.
I am not, yet.