Walking the Existential Dog
Tonight, the beast has its snout to the grass,
the bones of something boneless in its mouth.
Patches of worry fall from canine teeth,
scatter like breadcrumbs to be swallowed
by the dark that turns lawns to lakes
and unsettles the jagged skyline.
Still, the dog drags and tugs the stick
that has become a moon-size log.
The straight route I thought I’d chosen
curves back, skirts domesticity,
sneaks between neat rows of houses:
ditch on one side, fence on the other.
In the undergrowth, a carrier bag ghosts.
Spooked, the hound-that-is-more-than-canine
growls and snaps at the flittering
absence of real prey to chase. I push on
through the sickly light of rigid lampposts,
my stick-log clamped in the dog’s bite.
By the time I get home, trailing an empty lead,
I’ll have discovered something new –
the uneven judder of firm ground,
another self trapped in a puddle,
or a single thought that floats clear
and bright on the water’s night surface.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, S.A. Leavesley
would be pleased to hear them.