Where do dogs go when they dream?
Are there fields of hills and dales just teaming
with rabbits, their ears pinned back and bodies sleek
with speed, close enough to tease but far enough
to keep legs kicking all night long?
Are there forests bristling with squirrels
and foxes playing hide and seek in the leaves,
their whiskers twitching as they evade capture?

When life is not a dream and a particular scent
fills the air, painting pictures of things that lie
hidden in the burnt ruins, do they think about that other
half life and bound along at the end of the leash
with enthusiasm forgetting that it isn't the quick brown
fox or the combative squirrel but another police officer
or rescue worker hiding in the rubble?

And do the pieces of these smells, these sights and sounds
come together when the day is done, come together
slowly and with some effort, like distinguishing off-grey
fur with off-grey leaves, causing more than one owner
to ponder the moans and groans, the twitching muscles
and the legs that batter weakly against the rug by the door?

And do these people smile and think how easy it is to be a dog?

by Trish Shields

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